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Full text of "The native born; or, The rajah's people"

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rlurcHiisorsN 

pOOKSTORH 



THE NATIVE BORN 



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"Miss Cnry has coiisenlcci to become my wife." Page* / 



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by Google 



THE NATIVE BORN 

OR 

THE RAJAH'S PEOPLE 



I. A. R. WYLIE 



VTith niustratioiu hj 
JOHN NEWTON HOWITT 



INDIANAPOLIS 

THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANT 

FDBLISHERS 



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KDm-fH 



Copt EIGHT iQio 
The Bobbs-Mseeill Comfant 



BRAUHWOHTH & Oft 

B0OKMN0ER8 AND PRIHTEU 

SItOOKLVH, N. V. 



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PREFACE 

In earlier days a preface to a novel with no direct his- 
torical source always seemed to me somewhat out of place, 
since I believed that the author could be indebted aoMy to 
his own imagination. I have learned, however, that even 
in a novel pur tang it is possible to owe much to others, and 
I now take the opportunity which the despised preface 
offers to pay my debt — inadequately it is true — to Mr. 
Hughes Massie, whose enthusiastic help in the launching 
of this, my first serious literary effort, I shall always bold 

in grateful remembrance. 

1. A. R. W. 



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CONTENTS 

BOOK I 

1 Which Is a Prouxsub i 

II The Dancing Is Resumed lo 

III Nehal Sinoh 38 

IV CiacE 38 

V Archibald Travers Plays Bridge 54 

VI Bkeaking the Barrier 73 

VII The Second Generation 63 

VIII The Ideal 93 

IX Checked . 109 

X At the Gates of a Great People 123 

XI Within the Gates 137 

XII The White Hand 151 

Xm The Road Clear 166 

XIV In Which Many Things Are Broken .... 180 

XV The Great Healer 193 

XVI Fate an 

XVII False Light 336 

BOOK tl 

i Building the Cathedral 34$ 

II Catastrophe 365 

III A Farewell 379 

IV Stafford Intervenes 293 

V Murder 306 

VI Clearing Away the Rubbish 319 

VII In the Temple op Vishnu 335 

VIII Face to Face 350 

IX Half-Light 371 

X Travers 383 

XI In THE Hour OF Need- 393 

XII His Own People 403 

XIII Envoi 413 



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THE NATIVE BORN 



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BOOK I 



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THE NATIVE BORN 



#BicH IS A nouxum 

THE woman lying huddled on the couch turned 
her face to the wall and covered it with her hands 
in a burst of uncontrollable horror. 

"Oh, that dreadful light!" she moaned. "If it 
would only go out! It will send me mad. Oh, if it 
would only go out — only go out!" 

Her companion made no immediate answer. She 
stood by the wall, her shoulders slightly hunched, 
her hands clasped before her in an attitude of fixed, 
sullen defiance. What her features expressed it 
was impossible to tell, since they were hidden by 
the deep shadow in which she had taken up her po- 
sition. The rest of the apartment was lit with a 
grey, ghostly light, the reflection from the court- 
yard, in part visible through the open doorway, and 
which lay bathed in att the brilliancy of a full In- 
dian moon. 

"When the light goes out, it will mean that the 
end has come," she said at last "Do you know that, 
Christine V 

"Yes, I know It," the other answered piteously; 
"but that's what I want — the end. I am not afraid 
to die. I know Harry will be there. He will not 



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3 THE NATIVE BORN 

let it be too hard for me. It's the suspense I can 
not bear. The suspense is worse than death. I 
have died a dozen times to-night, and suffered as I 
am sure God will not let us suffer." 

Margaret Caruthers bent over the cowering fig- 
ure with the sympathy which education provides 
when the heart fails to perform its office. There 
was, indeed, little tenderness in the hand which 
passed lightly over Christine Stafford's feverish 
forehead. 

"You give God credit for a good deal," she said 
indifferently. "If the light troubles you, shall I shut 
the door?" 

Christine sprang half upright. 

"No!" she cried sharply. "No! I should still see 
it. Even when I cover my face — so^I can still see 
it flickering. And then there is the darkness, and 
in the darkness, faces — little John's face. Oh, my 
little fellow, what will become of you !" She began 
to cry softly, but no longer with fear. Love and 
pity had struggled up out of the chaos of her de- 
spair, rising above even the mighty instinct of self- 
preservation. Margaret's hand ceased from its me- 
chanical act of consolation. 

"Be thankful that he is not here," she said. 

"I am thankful — but the thought of him nukes 
death harder. It will hurt him so." 

"No one is indispensable in this world." 

Christine turned her haggard, tear-stained face to 
the moonlight. 

"How hard you arc 1" she said wonderii^ly. "You, 
too, have your little girl to think of, but even 
with the end so close — even knowing that we shall 

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WHICH IS A PROLOGUE 3 

never see our loved ones again — ^you are still hard," 
"I have no loved ones, and life has taught me to 
be hard. Why should death soften me?" was the 
cold answer. Both women relapsed into silence. 
Always strangers to each other, a common danger 
had not served to break down the barrier between 
them. Christine now lay quiet and calm, her hands 
clasped, her lips moving slightly, as though in 
prayer. Her companion had resumed her former 
position against the wall, her eyes Sxed on the open 
doorway, beyond which the grey lake of moonlight 
spread itself into the shadow of the walls. In the 
distance a single point of fire flickered uneasily, 
winking like an evil, threatening eye. So long as it 
winked at them, so long their lives were safe. With 
its extermination they knew must come their own. 
Hitherto, save for the murmur of the two voices, 
a profound hush had weighed ominously in the 
heavy air. Now suddenly a cry went up, pitched on 
a high note and descending by semitones, like a dy- 
ing wind, into a moan. It was caught up instantly 
and repeated so close that it seemed to the two 
women to have sprung from the very ground be- 
neath their feet. Christine started up. 

"Oh, my God!" she muttered. "Oh, my Godl" 
She was trembling from head to foot, but the 
other gave no sign of either fear or interest. There 
followed a brief pause, in which the imagination 
might have conjured up unseen forces gathering 
themselves together for a final onslaught. It came 
at last, like a cry, suddenly, amidst a wild outburst 
of yells, screams, and the intermittent crack of re- 
volvers fired at close quarters. Pandemonium had 



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4 THE NATIVE BORN 

been let loose on the other side of the silver lake, 
but the silver lake itself remained placid and un- 
troubled. Only the red eye winked more vigorous- 
ly, as though its warning had become more imper- 
ative. 

Christine Stafford clung to a pair of unrespon- 
sive hands, which yielded with an almost speaking 
reluctance to her embrace. 

"You think there is no hope?" she pleaded. 
"None? You know what Harry said. If the regi- 
ment got back in time — " 

"The regiment will not get back in time," Mar- 
garet Caruthers interrupted. "There are ten men 
guarding the gate against Heaven knows how many 
thousand. Do you expect a miracle? No, no. We 
are a people who dance best at the edge of a crater, 
and if a few, like ourselves, get swallowed up now 
and again, it can not be helped. It is the penalty." 

"If only Harry would come I" Christine moaned, 
heedless of this cold philosophy. "But he will keep 
his promise, won't he? He won't let us fall into 
those cruel hands? You remember what happened 
at Calcutta- — " 

"Hush! Don't frighten yourself and me!" ex- 
claimed Margaret impatiently. "Does it comfort 
you to hold my hand? Well, hold it, then. How 
strangQ yc i are I I thought you weren't afraid." 

"I shan't be when the time comes — ^but it's so 
very lonely. Don't you feel it? Are you made of 
stone?" 

Margaret Caruthers set her teeth hard. 

"I would to God I werel" she said. All at once 
she wrenched her hand free and pointed with it. 



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WHICH IS A PROLOGUE s 

Her ann, stretched out into the light, had a curiotu, 
ghostly effect. "Look I" she cried. 

The red eye winked rapidly in succession, once, 
twice, three times, and then closed — this time for 
■erer. An instant later two dark spots darted out 
into the bristly lighted space and came at headlong 
pace toward them. Christine sprang to her feet, 
and the two women citing to each other, obeying 
for that one moment the instinct which can bind 
devil to saint But it was an English voice which 
greeted them from the now darkened doorway. 

"It's all ovcrl" Steven Caruthers said, entering 
with bis companion and slamming the door sharp- 
ly to. "We have five minutes more. Mackay has 
promised to keep them off just so long. Stafford, 
see to your wife I" He spoke brutally, in a voice 
choked with dust and pain. The room was now in 
pitch darkness. Harry Stafford felt his way across, 
his arms outstretched. 

"Christine 1" he called. 

She came to him at once, with a step as firm and 
steady as a man's. 

"Harry t" she cried, her voice ringing with an al- 
most incredulous joy. "Oh, my darlingl" 

He caught her to him and felt how calm her pulse 
had become. 

"Are you afraid, my wife?" '* 

"Not now. I am so happy 1" 

He knew, strange though it seemed, that this was 
true and natural, because her love was stronger 
than life or the fear of death. 

"Do you trust me absolutely, Christine?" 

"Absolutely !" 



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6 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Give me both your hands — in my one hand — so. 
Kiss me, sweetheart," 

In the same instant that his lips touched hers he 
lifted his right disengaged hand, and something 
icy-cold brushed past her temple. She clung to him. 

"Not yet, Harry! Not yet! Oh, don't think I 
don't understand. I do, and I am glad. If things 
had gone dififerently the time must have come when 
one of us would have been left lonely. Now, we 
are going together. What does it matter if it is a 
little sooner than we hoped? Only, not yet — just 
one minute 1 We have time. Do not let us waste 
it. Let us kneel down and say 'Our Father,' and 
then — for little John — " Her voice broke. "After- 
ward — when you think fit, husband, I shall be ready." 

He put his arm about her, and they knelt down 
side by side at the little couch. Christine prayed 
aloud, and he followed her, his deeper voice hushed 
to a whisper. 

The two other occupants of the room did not 
heed them. They, too, had found each other. At 
her husband's entrance Margaret Caruthers had 
crept back to the wall and had remained there mo- 
tionless, not answering to his sharp, imperative call. 
He groped around the room, and when at length 
his hands touched her face, both drew back as one 
total stranger from another. 

"Why did you not answer?" he asked hoarsely. 
"Are you not aware that any moment may be our 
last?" 

"Yes," she said. 

"I have something I wish to say to you, Margaret, 
before the time comes." 



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WHICH IS A PROLOGUE 7 

"I am listening." 

"I wish to say if at any period in our unfortunate 
married life I have done you wrong, I am sony." 

She made no answer. 

"I ask your forgiveness." 

"I forgive you." 

The sound of firing outside had grown fainter, 
the shrieks louder, more exultant, mingling like an 
unearthly savage chorus with the hushed voices by 
the couch. 

— ■"Thy will be done — " prayed Christine valiant' 

ly. 

Margaret Caruthers lifted her head and laughed. 

"Don't lauc:h !" her husband burst out. "Pray 
now, if you have ever prayed in your life. You 
}iave need of prayers." He lifted his arm as he 
spoke; but, as though she guessed his intention, 
she sprang out of his reach. 
' "No !" she said, in a voice concentrated with pas- 
sion. "I am not going to die like that. Stafford 
can shoot his wife down like a piece of blind cattle 
if he thinks fit — but not you. I won't die by. your 
hand, Steven. I hate you too much." 

"Hush !" he exclaimed. "The account between us 
is settled," 

"Do you think I can begin to love you just be- 
cause we are both about to die?" 

"You are my wife," he answered, grasping her 
by the wrists. "There arc things worse than death, 
and from them I shall shield you, whether you will 
or not." 

"Is it not enough that you have taken my life 
once?" she retorted. 

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8 THE NATIVE BORN 

"What do you mean? How dare you say thati" 

"I say it because it is true. I have never lived — 
never. You killed me years ago — all that was best 
in me. Save your soul from a second murder." 

"If you live, do you know what may He before 
you?" 

"You talk of things 'worse than death.* What 
shame, what misery could be worse than the years 
spent at your side?" 

"You are mad, Margaret. I shall pay no attention 
to you. I must save you against your will." 

All through the hurried dialogue neither had 
spoken above a whisper. Even in that moment 
they obeyed the habit of a lifetime, hiding hatred 
and bitterness beneath a mask of apparent calm. 
Without a sound, but with a frantic strength, Mar- 
garet wrenched herself free. 

"Leave me to my own fate I" she demaoded, in 
the same passionate undertone. "You have ceased 
to be responsible for me." 

He made one last effort to hold her. In the same 
instant the firing ceased altogether. There followed 
the roar and crash of bursting timber, the patter- 
ing of naked feet, the fanatic yells drawing every 
second nearer. 

"Margaret !" he cried wildly, holding out his re- 
volver in the darkness. "If not at my hands, then 
at your own. Save yourself—" 

"I shall save myself, have no fear I" she answered^ 
with a bitter, terrible laugh. 

From the couch Christine Stafford's voice rose 
peacefully : 

"Lord, into Thy hands I commend nqr spirit I" 



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WHICH IS A PROLOGUE 9 

Another voice answered, "Anient" There was the 
report of a revolver and a sudden, startling stillness. 
It tasted only a breathing space. Furious shoulders 
hurled themselves against the frail, weakly barred 
door. It cracked, bulged inward, with a bursting, 
tearing sound, yielded. The moonti^t flooded into 
the little room, throwing up into bold relief the 
three upright figures and the little heap that knelt 
motionless by the couch. 

The crowd of savage faces hesitated, faltering an 
instant before the sahibs who yesterday had been 
their lords and masters. Then the sahibs fired. It 
was all that was needed. The room flUed. There 
was one stifled groan — no more than that. No cry 
for mercy, no whining. 

Little by little the room emptied again. The cries 
and bloodthirsty screams of triumphant vengeance 
died slowly in the distance, the grey moonlight re- 
sumed its peaceful sovereignty. Only here and 
there were dark stains its silver could not wash 
away. 



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CHAPTER II 

THE DANaNO IS RBSUUEa 

"OH, I love India — adore it, simply I" Mrs. Cary 
exclaimed, in the tone of a person who, usually 
self-controlled, finds himself overwhelmed by the 
force of his own enthusiasm. "There is something^ 
so mystic, so enthralling about it, don't you think? 
I always feci as though I were wandering through 
a chapter of the Arabian Nights full of gorgeous 
princes, wicked robbers, genii, or whatever you call 
them. Isn't it so with you, Mrs. Carmichael?" 

Her hostess, a thin, alert little woman with a 
bony, weather-beaten face, cast an anxious glance 
at the rest of her guests scattered about the garden. 

"There aren't any robbers about here — except my 
cook," she said prosaically. "My husband wouldn't 
allow such a thing in his department, and in mine 
he is no good at all. As for the princes, we don't 
see anything of the only one this region boasts of. 
He may be gorgeous, but I really can not say for 
certain." 

"Ah I" said Mrs. Cary, with a placid smile. "You 
have been in fairyland too long, dear Mrs. Carmi- 
chael. That's what's the matter with you. You 
are beginning to look upon it as a very ordinary, 
every-day place. If you only knew what it is to 
come to it with a virgin heart and mind — thirsting 



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THE DANQNG IS RESUMED n 

for impressions, as it were. That is how we feel, do 
we not, Beatrice?" She half turned to the girl stand- 
ing at her side, as though seeking to draw her into 
the conversation. 

"It is indeed new for me" the latter answered 
shortly, and with slight emphasis on the personal 
pronoun. 

"I was about to remark that this is scarcely your 
first visit to India," Mrs. Carmichael put in. "I 
understood that your late husband had a govern- 
ment appointment somewhere in the South?" 

Mrs. Gary's heavy face flushed, though whether 
with heat or annoyance it was not easy to judge. 

"Of course — a very excellent appointment, too — 
but the place and the people!" She became con- 
fidential and her voice sank, though beyond her 
daughter there was no one within hearing. "Be- 
tween you and me, Mrs. Carmichael, the people 
were dreadful. You know, I am not snobbish — in- 
deed I must confess to quite democratic tendencies, 
which my family always greatly deplores — but I 
really couldn't stand the people. I had to go back 
to England with Beatrice. The place was filled 
with subordinate railway officials. Don't you hate 
subordinates, dear Mrs, Carmichael?" 

Mrs. Carmichael stared, during which process 
her eyes happened to fall on Beatrice Gary's half- 
averted face. She was surprised to find that the 
somewhat thin lips were smiling — though not agree- 
ably. 

"I really don't know what you mean by 'subordi- 
nates,' " Mrs. Carmichael said, in her uncompro- 
mising way. "Most people are subordinates at 

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12 THE NATIVE BORN 

some time or other. My husband was a lieutenant 
once. I don't remember objecting to him. At any 
rate," she continued hastily, as though to cut the 
conversation short, "I hope you will like the people 
here." 

"I'm sure I shall. A military circle is always so 
delightful. That is what I said to Beatrice when I 
felt that I must revisit the scene of my girlish days. 
'We must go somewhere where there is military.' 
Of course, we might have gone to Simla — I have 
influential friends there, you know — but I wanted 
my g^rl to see a real bit of genuine India, and Simla 
is so modem. Really a great pity, I think. I am so 
passionately fond of color and picturesqueness — 
comfort is nothing to me. As my husband used to 
say, 'Oh, Mary, you are always putting your artis- 
tic feelings before material necessities.' Poor fel- 
low, he used to miss his creature comforts some- 
times, I fear." 

Her laugh, painfully resembling a g^g^le, inter- 
rupted her own garrulity, which was Anally put to 
an end by a fresh arrival. A slight, daintily-clad 
figure had detached itself from a group of guests 
and came running toward them. Mrs. Carmichael's 
deeply lined, somewhat severe face lighted up. 

"That is my husband's ward, Lois Caruthers," 
she said. "She has been with me all her life, prac- 
tically. As you are so fond of genuine India, you 
must let her show you over the place. She knows 
all the dirtiest, and I suppose most interesting cor- 
ners, with their exact history." 

"Delightful!" murmured Mrs. Cary, with a gra- 
cious nod of her plumed headgear. Nevertheless, 



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THE DANCING IS RESUMED 13 

she studied the small figure and animated features 
of the new-comer with a critical severity not alto- 
gether in accordance with her next remark, uttered, 
apparently under pressure of the same irresistible 
enthusiasm, in an audible side whisper: "What a 
sweet face — so piquant!" 

An adjective is a pliable weapon, and, in the 
bands of a woman, can be made to mean anything 
under the sun. Mrs. Gary's "piquant" — pronounced 
in a manner that was neither French nor English, 
but a startling mixture of both — ^had a background 
to it of charitable patronage. It was meant, with- 
out doubt, to be a varnished edition of "plain," per- 
haps even "ugly," though Lois Caruthers deserved 
neither insinuation. Possibly too small in build, 
she was yet graceful, and there was a lithe, elastic 
energy in her movements which drew attention to 
her even among more imposing figures. Possibly,, 
also, she was too dark for the English ideal. Her 
black hair and large brown eyes, together with the 
unrelieved pallor of her complexion, gave her ap- 
pearance something that was exotic but not un- 
pleasing. Enfin, as most people admitted, she had her 
charm ; and her moods, which ranged from the most 
light-hearted gaiety to the deepest gravity, could 
be equally irresistible. She was light-hearted 
enough now, however, as she smiled from one to the 
other, indudii^ mother and daughter in her friendly 
greeting, though as yet both were strangers to 
her. 

"I have come to fetch you. Aunt Harriet," she 
said, addressing Mrs. Carmichael. "Mr. Travers 
has got some great scheme on hand which he will 

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14 THE NATIVE BORN 

only disclose in your presence. We are all gasping 
with curiosity. Will you please come?" 

Mrs. Carmichael nodded. 

"I will come at once," she said. "I'm sure it's 
only one of Mr. Travers' breakneck schemes, but 
they are always amusing to listen to. Lois, come 
and be introduced. My adopted niece — Mrs. Cary 
Miss Cary." 

They shook hands. 

"Lots, when there is time, I want you to do the 
honors of Marut. Miss Cary especially has as yet 
seen nothing, and there is a great deal of interest. You 
know — " turning to her visitors — "Marut is supposed 
to have been the hotbed of the last rising," 

"Indeed !" murmured Mrs. Cary vaguely, "How 
delightful I" 

Lois Canithers laughed, not without a shadow 
of bitterness. 

"It was hardly delightful at the time, I should 
imagine," she observed. "But what there is to see 
I shall be very glad to show you. Will any day 
suit you?" 

"Oh, yes, any day," Beatrice Cary assented, 
speaking almost for the first time. "I have nothing 
to do here from morning to night." 

'That will soon change," Lois said, walking by 
her side, "I am always busy, either playing tennis, 
or riding, or getting up some entertainment. The 
difficulty is to find time to rest." 

"You must be a very much sought-after person," 
Beatrice observed, in the tone of a person who is mak- 
ing a graceful compliment. The hint of irony, how- 
ever, was unmistakable. 



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THE DANaNG IS RESUMED 15 

"I am not more sought after than any one else," 
Lois returned, unruffled. "Every one has to help in 
the work of frivolity." 

"I shall be rather out of it, then," Beatrice aaid 
coolly. "I am not amusing." 

"It is quite sufficient to be willing, good-natured 
and good-humored," Lois answered. 

They had by this time reached the group under 
the trees, where Mrs. Carmichael and her com- 
panion had already arrived, under the escort of a 
tall, stoutly built man, who was talking and apparently 
explaining with great vigor. As Lots entered the circle, 
he glanced up and smiled at her, revealing a handsome, 
cheerful face, singularly fresh-colored in comparison 
with the deep tan of the other men. 

"That is Mr. Travers," Lois explained. "He is 
a bank director or something in Madras, and has 
been on a long business visit north. He is awfully 
clever and popular, and gets up everything." 

"Rich, I suppose?" 

Lois glanced up at her companion. The beautiful 
profile and the tone of the remark seemed incongru- 
ous. 

"I don't know," she said rather abruptly. "He 
has four polo ponies. Nobody else has more than 
two." 

"Do you calculate wealth by polo ponies, then?" 

Lois laughed. 

"Yes, we do pretty well," she said — "that is, when 
we bother about such things at all. Most people 
are poor, and if they aren't, they have to live be- 
yond their income, so it comes to the same in the 
end." 



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i6 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Everybody looks cheerful enough," Beatrice 
Cary observed. "I always tbou^t poverty and 
worry went together." 

"Who is that talking about poverty and worry?" 
asked a voice behind them. "Is it you, Miss Caru- 
thers? If so, I shall arraign you as a disturber of 
the peace. Who wants to be bothered with the 
memory of his empty purse on such a lovely day?" 

Lois turned with a smile to the new-comer, 

"No, I am innocent. Captain Stafford," she said. 
"It was Miss Cary who brought up the terms you 
object to." 

"Well, won't you introduce me, then, so that I 
can express my displeasure direct to the culprit?" 

The ceremony of introduction was gone through, 
on Beatrice dry's side with a sudden change of 
manner. Hitherto cold, indifferent, slightly super- 
cilious, she now relaxed into a gentleness that was 
almost appealing. 

"This is a new world for me," she said, looking 
up into Captain Stafford's amused face, "and I have 
so many questions to ask that I am afraid of turn- 
ing into a mark of interrogation, or — as you said— 
a disturber of the peace." 

"You won't ask questions long," he answered, 
with a wise shake of the head. "Nobody does. 
Wherever English people go they take their whole 
paraphernalia with them ; and you will find that, 
with a few superficial differences, Marut is no more 
or less than a snug little English suburb. A little 
more freedom of intercourse — a little less Philistin- 
ism, perhaps — ^but the foundations are the same. As 
to India itself, one soon leanu to forget all about it" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE DANQNG IS RESUMED 17 

He then turned to Lois, who was intent on watch- 
ing Mr. Travers. 

"You weren't on the race-course this moming," 
he said in an undertone. "I missed yoo. Why did 
you not come?" 

"I couldn't," she said. "There was too nuch to 
be done. We are rather short of servants just now, 
for reasons — ^well, that, according to you, ought not 
to be mentioned on a fine day." 

He laughed, but not as he had hitherto done. 
There was another tone in his voice, warmer, more 
confidential. It attracted Beatrice Gary's attention, 
and she looked curiously from Lois to the man be- 
side her. About thirty-five, with a passably good 
figure, irregular, if honest, features, and an expres- 
sion usually somewhat grave, he made no preten- 
sions to any exterior advantage. He could appar- 
ently be gay, as now, but his gaiety did not conceal 
the fact that it was unusual. Altogether, he had 
nothing about him which appealed to her, but Bea- 
trice Gary was inclined to resent Lois' obvious in- 
timacy with him as something which accentuated 
her own isolation. 

"Can you make out what Mr. Travers is saying?" 
Lois asked, turning suddenly to her. "I can't hear 
a word, and I'm sure it's awfully interesting. Cap- 
tain Stafford, do you know?" 

"I can guess," he answered, half smiling. "When 
Travers has a sug^stion to make, it usually means 
that some one has to stump up." 

There was a general laugh. Travers looked around. 

"Sone one has accused me falsely," he declared. 
"I have a prophetic sense of injury." 

C,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



i8 THE NATIVE BORN 

"On the contrary, that is what I am suffering 
from," Stafford retorted, "Since hearing that you 
have a new scheme, I have been hastily reckoning 
how many weeks' leave I shall have to sacrifice to pax 
for it." 

Travers shook his head. 

"As usual — wrong, my dear Captain," he said. 
"My scheme has two parts. The first part is known 
to you all, though for the benefit of weak memo- 
ries, I will repeat it. Ladies and gentlemen, in this 
Station we have the honor of being protected from 
the malice of the aborigine by two noble regiments. 
We count, moreover, at least thirty of the fair sex 
and forty miscellaneous persons, such as miserable 
civilians like myself, and children. Hitherto, we 
have been content to meet at odd times and odd 
places. When hospitality has run dry, we have re- 
sorted to a shed-like structure dignified with the 
name of club. Personally, I call it a disgrace, which 
should at once be rectified." 

"I have already contributed my mite !" protested 
a young subaltern from the British regimenL 

"I know; so has everybody. With strenuous ef- 
forts I have collected the sum of five hundred ru- 
pees. That won't do. We require at least four 
times that sum. Consequently, we must have a 
patron.'* 

"The second part of your programme concerns 
the patron, then?" Captain Webb inquired, vnth an 
aspect of considerable relief. "Not yourself, by any 
chance ?" 

"Certainly not. If I had any noble inclinations of 
that sort I should have discovered them a long time 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE DANCING IS RESUMED 19 

ago. No, I content myself with taking the part of 
a fairy godmother." 

"I'm afraid I don't follow," Stafford put in. 
"What is the fairy godmother going to do for us? 
Produce a club-house, a patron, or a cucumber?" 

"A patron, and one, my dear fellow, whom I 
should have entirely overlooked had it not been 
for you." 

"For me!" 

"It was you who made the discovery that the 
present Rajah is not, as we thought, an imbecilic 
youth, but a man of many parts and splendidly 
adapted to our requirements." 

"I protest!" broke in Stafford, with unusual 
earnestness. "It was by pure chance that, in an 
audience with the Maharajah Scindia, the late re- 
gent of Marut, I got to hear that his whilom ward 
was both intelligent and cultured. I believe it was 
a slip on his part, and, seeing that Rajah Nehal 
Singh has shunned all English intercourse, I can 
not see that there is any likelihood of his adapting 
himself or his purse to your plans." 

"Oh, bosh!" exclaimed Travers impatiently. 
"You are too cautious, Stafford. Other rajahs in- 
terest themselves in social matters — why not this 
one? He is fabulously rich, I understand, and a lit- 
tle gentle handling should easily bring him around." 

There was a chorus of bravos, in which only one 
or two did not join. One was Colonel Carmichael, 
who stood a little apart, pulling his thin grey mous- 
tache in the nervous, anxious way peculiar to htm, 
his kindly face overshadowed. 

"On principle," he began, after the first applause 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



30 THE NATIVE BORN 

had died down, "I am against the sag^estion. Of 
course, I have no deciding voice in the matter, but 
I confess that the idea has not my approval. I know 
very well that, as you say, other native princes have 
proved themselves useful and valuable acquisitions 
to EngKsb society. In some cases it may be well 
enough, though in no case does it seem to me right 
to accept hospitality from a man to whom we only 
grant an apparent equality. In this particular case 
I consider the idea — ^well, repulsive." 

*'May I ask why, Colonel?" Travers asked sharp- 
ly- 

"By all means. Because less than a quarter of a 
century ago the father of the man from whom you 
are seeking gifts slaughtered by treachery hundreds 
of our own people." 

An uncomfortable, uneasy silence followed. Cap- 
tain Stafford and Lois exchanged a quick glance of 
understanding. 

"I know of at least two people who will agree 
with me," continued the Colonel, who had intercepted 
and possibly anticipated the glance. 

"You are right, Colonel," Stafford said. "I bear 
no malice, and any idea of revenge seems to me 
foolish. As far as I know, the present Rajah ia all 
that can be desired, but I protest against a su^es- 
tion — and what is worse, a practice, which must inev- 
itably lower our dignity in the eyes of those we are 
supposed to govern." 

The awkward silence continued for a moment, no 
one caring to express a contrary opinion, though a 
contrary opinion undoubtedly existed. 

Beatrice looked up at Captain Webb, who hap* 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE DANQNG IS RESUMED 21 

pened to be standing at her side. Her acquaintance 
with him dated only from an hour back, but an un- 
controllable irritation made her voice her opinions 
to him. 

"I think all that sort of thing rather overstrained 
and unnecessary," she said. "Your chief business 
is to get the best out of life, and quixotic people 
who worry about the means are rather a nuisance, 
don't you think?" 

Captain Webb's bored features lighted up with a 
faint amusement. 

"O, Lor', you mustn't say that sort of thing to 
me, Miss Cary I" he said in a subdued aside. "Su- 
perior officer, you know ! If you want an index to 
my feelings, study my countenance." He pretended 
to smother a gigantic yawn, and Beatrice's cool, 
unchecked laughter broke the constraint 

Travers look around with a return of his old 
good-humor. 

"Well," he said, "I have two votes against my 
plans, but, with due respect to those two, who are, 
perhaps, unduly influenced by unfortunate circum- 
stances, I feel that it is only just that the others 
should be given a voice in the matter. Do you ^ree. 
Colonel?" 

Colonel Carmichael had by this time regained his 
placid, gentle manner. 

"Certainly," he agreed, without hesitation. 
"Hands up, then, for letting Rajah Nehal Singh 
go his way in peace I" 

Three hands went up — Colonel Carmichael's, 
Stafford's and "Lois'. Beatrice glanced at the lat- 
ter with a smile that expressed what it was meant 

C,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



aa THE NATIVE BORN 

to express— a supercilious amusement. Her indif- 
ference was rapidly taking another and more de- 
cided character. 

"Hands up for drawing the bashful youth into 
Circe's circle!" called Travers, now thoroughly 
elated. A forest of hands went up. Captain Webb 
and his bosom comrade. Captain Saunders, who, for 
diplomatic reasons had remained neutral, exchanged 
grins. "You see," Travers said, turning with def- 
erential politeness to the Colonel, "the day is against 
you." 

'The Old Guard dies, but never surrenders!" 
quoted the Colonel good-humoredly. 

"The next question is, on whose shoulders shall 
the task of beguilement fall?" Travers went on, 
glancing at Stafford. "I suppose you, O, wise young 
judge—?" 

"It is out of the question," Stafford answered at 
once. "I consider I have done enough damage al- 
ready." 

"What about your serpent's tongue, Travers?" 
suggested Webb. "When I think of the follies you 
have tempted me to commit, I feel that you should 
be unanimously elected." 

Travers bowed his acknowledgments with mock 
gravity. 

"Knee there are no other candidates, I accept the 
onerous task," he said, "but I can not go about it 
single-handed. The serpent's tongue may be mine, 
but I lack, I fear, the grace and personal charm 
necessary for complete conquest I need the help 
of Circe, herself." His bright, bird-like eye passed 
over the laughing group, resting on Lois an instant 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE DANQNG IS RESUMED 33 

with an expression of woebegone regret. Beatrice 
Cary was the next in line, and his search went no 
farther than her flushed, eager face. "Ah !" he ex- 
claimed, "I have found the enchantress herself 1 
Miss " He hesitated, for an instant unaccount- 
ably shaken out of his debonair self-possession. 
Webb sprang to the rescue with a formal introduc- 
tion, and Travers proceeded, if not entirely with 
his old equanimity. "I beg your pardon. Miss 
Gary," he apolc^ed. "Your face is. strangely enough, 
so familiar to me that I took you for an old acquaint- 
ance — perhaps, indeed, you are, if in our modem days 
Circe finds it necessary to travel incognito." 

Beatrice joined in the general amusement, her un- 
usually large and beautiful eyes bright with elation. 

"May I claim your assistance ?" Travers went on. 
"Instinct tells me that we shall be irresistible." 

"Willingly," Beatrice responded, "though I can not 
imagine how I can help you." 

"Leave that to me," he said, offering her his arm. 
"My plans are Napoleonic in their depth and mag- 
nitude. If you will allow me to unfold them to you 
before the dancing begins — ?" 

She smiled her assent, and walked at his side 
toward the Colonel's bungalow. On their way they 
passed Mrs. Cary, who, strangely enough, did not re- 
spond to the half-triumphant glance which her daughter 
cast at her. She turned hastily aside. 

"Mr. Travers is no doubt — " she began, in a con- 
fidential undertone; but her companion, Mrs. Car- 
michael, had taken the opportunity and vanished. 

The light-hearted, superficial discussion, with its 
scarcely felt undercurrent of tragic 1 



3,q,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



34 THE NATIVE BORN 

had lasted through the swift sunset, and already 
dusk was beginning to throw its long shadows over 
the gaily dressed figures that streamed up toward the 
bungalow. 

On the outskirts of the garden lights were spring- 
ing up in quick succession, thanks to the industry 
of Mrs. Carmichael, who hurried from one Chinese 
lantern to the other, breathless but determined. 
The task was doubtless an ignominious one for an 
Anglo-Indian lady of position, but Mrs. Carmichael, 
who acted as a sort of counterbalance to her hus- 
band's extravagant hospitality, cared not at all. 
England, half-pay and all its attendant horrors, 
loomed in the near future, and economy had to be 
practised somehow. 

Of the late group only Lois and John Stafford 
remained. They had not spoken, but, as though 
obeying ' a mutual understanding, both remained 
quietly waiting till they were alone. 

"Shall we walk about a little?" he asked at last. 
"I missed our morning ride so much. It has put my 
whole day out of joint, and I want something to put 
it straight ^ain. Do you mind, or would you rath- 
er dance? I see they have begun." 

"No," she said. "I would rather be quiet for a 
few minutes. Somehow I have lost the taste for 
that sort of thing to-ni^t." 

"I also," he responded. 

They walked silently side by side along the well- 
kept path, each immersed in his own thoughts and 
soothed by the knowledge that their friendship had 
reached a height where silence is permitted — be- 
comes even the purest form of expression. At the 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE DANONG IS RESUMED 25 

bottom of the compound they reached a large, low- 
built building, evidently once a dwelling-place, over- 
grown with wild plants and half in ruins, whose dim 
outlines stood out against the darkening back- 
ground of trees and sky. The door stood open, and 
must indeed have stood open for many years, for 
the broken hinges were rusty and seemed to be 
clinging to the torn woodwork only by the strength 
of undisturbed custom. 

Stafford came to a halt. 

"That is where — " he began, and then abruptly 
left his sentence unfinished. 

"Yes," she said, "it is here. I don't think, as long 
as we live in India, that my guardian will ever have 
it touched. He calls it the Memorial. My father 
was his greatest friend, and the terrible fact that he 
came too late to save him has saddened his whole 
life." 

Stafford looked down at her. The light from a 
lantern which Mrs. Carmichael, with great dexter- 
ity, had fixed among some overhanging branches, 
fell on the dark features, now composed and 
thoughtful. She met his glance in silence, with 
large eyes that had taken into their depths some- 
thing of the surrounding shadow. He had never 
felt so strongly before the peculiarity of her fasci- 
nation — perhaps because he had never seen her in a 
setting which seemed so entirely a part of herself. 
The distant music, the hum of voices, and that 
strange charm which permeates an Indian nightfall 
— above all, the ruined bungalow with its shattered 
door and silent memories — these things, with their 
sharp contrasts of laughter and tragedy, had formed 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



26 THE NATIVE BORN 

themselves into a background which belonged to 
her, so that she and they seemed inseparable. 

"Oh, Lois, little girl!" Stafford said gently. "I 
have always thought of you as standing alone, dif- 
ferent from everything and everybody, a stranger 
from another world, irresistible, incomprehensible. 
I have just understood that you are part and parcel 
of it all, child of the sun and flowers and mysteries 
and wonders. It is I who am the stranger 1" 

"Hush!" she said, in a voice of curious pain. 
"Hush I Let us go back. We must dance — whether 
we will or not," 

He followed her without protest. The very rustle 
of her muslin skirts over the fallen leaves made for 
his ears a new and fantastic music. 

Close behind them wandered the two captains, 
Webb and Saunders, arm in arm. At the entrance 
to Colonel Carmichael's Memorial Webb stepped, 
and, striking a match against the door, proceeded to 
light his cigar. The tiny flame lit up for an instant 
the languid patrician features. 

"A cigar is one's only comfort in a dull affair like 
this," he remarked, as they resumed their leisurely 
promenade. "Awful wine, wasn't it?" 

"Awful. The Colonel is beginning to put on the 
curb — or his lady. It's the same thing." 

"It will be better when the club comes into cx- 
~ istence," said Webb, blowing consolatory clouds of 
smoke into the quiet air. 

"It is to be hoped so. Spunky devil, that Travers. 
Wonder how he means to do the trick. He knows 
how to pick out a pretty partner, anyhow." 

"That Gary girl? Yes. Wait till the heat has 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE DANCING IS RESUMED 27 

dried her up, though. She'll be a scarecrow, like 
the rest of them. By the way, what were her peo- 
ple?" 

"Heaven knows — something in the D, P. W., I 
believe. The mother was dressed in the queerest 
kit." 

"I heard her talking about 'the gentlemen,' " re- 
marked Webb, laughing, as they went up the steps 
of the bungalow together. 

The Memorial was once more left to its shadows 
and silence. At the edge of the compound a group 
of natives peered through the fencing, watching and 
listening. Their dark faces expressed neither hatred 
nor admiration, nor sorrow, nor pleasure — at most, 
a dull wonder. 

When they were tired of watching, they passed 
noiselessly on their way. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



CHAPTER III 

NEHAL SINGH 

THE Royal apartment was prepared for the suf- 
focating midday heat. Heavy halvings had been 
pulled across the door which led on to the balcony, 
and only at one small aperture the sunshine ventured 
to pierce through and dance its golden reflection hither 
and thither over the marble floor. The rest was hidden 
in the semi-obscurity of a starlit night, which, like a 
transparent veil, half conceals and half reveals an un- 
told richness and splendor. 

At either side slender Moorish pillars rose to the 
lofty ceiling, and from their capitals winking points 
of light shimmered through the shadows. Fantas- 
tic designs sprang into sudden prominence on the 
walls, shifting with the shifting of the sunshine, and 
at the far end, raised by steps from the level of the 
floor, stood a throne, alone marked out against the 
darkness by its bej'eweled splendor. Of other fur- 
niture there was no trace. To the left a divan 
formed of silken cushions had been built up for tem- 
porary use, and on this, stretched full length on his 
side, lay an old man whose furrowed visage ap- 
peared doubly dark and sinister beneath the dead 
white of his turban. His head was half supported 
on a pillow, and thus at his ease he watched with 
unblinking, unflagging attention the tall, slight fig- 
ure by the doorway. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



NEHAL SINGH 39 

It was the Rajah himself who had let in the one 
point of daylight. It fell full upon his face and set 
into a brilliant blaze the single diamond on the ner- 
vous, muscular hand which held the curtain aside. 
Apparently he had forgotten his companion, and in- 
deed everything save the scene on which his eyes 
rested. Beneath the balcony, like steps to a mighty 
altar, broad and beautiful terraces descended in 
stately gradations to a paradise of rare exotic flow- 
ers, whose heavy perfume came drifting up on the 
calm air to the very windows of the palace. This 
lovely chaos extended for about a mile and then end- 
ed abruptly. As though cultivated nature had sud- 
denly broken loose from her artificial bounds, a dark 
jungle-forest rose up side by side with the flowers 
and well-kept walks, and like a black stain spread 
itself into the distance, swallowing up hill and val- 
ley until the eye lost itself in the haze of the hori- 
zon. Within a few hundred yards of the palace a 
ruined Hindu temple lifted its dome and crumbling 
towers into the intense blue of the sky. And on 
garden, jungle, and temple alike the scorching mid- 
fday sun blazed down with pitiless impartiality. 

For an hour the Rajah had remained watching the 
unchanging scene, scarcely for an instant shifting 
his own position. One hand rested on his hip, the 
other held back the curtain and supported him in 
a half-leaning attitude of dreamy indolence. Against 
the intensified darkness of the room behind him 
his features stood out with the distinctness of a 
finely cut cameo. A man of about twenty-five years, 
he yet seemed younger, thanks, perhaps, to his ex- 
pression, which was extraordinarily untroubled. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



30 THE NATIVE BORN 

Thoujght, poetic and philosophic, but never tempes- 
tuous, sat in the dark, well-shaped eyes and high, 
intellectual forehead. Humor, sorrow, care, anxi- 
ety and doubt, the children of a strenuous life, had 
left his face singularly unscarred with their charac- 
teristic lines. For the rest, beyond that he was un- 
usually fair, he represented in bearing and in fea- 
ture a Hindu prince of high caste and noble lineage. 
Between him and the old man upon the divan there 
was no apparent resemblance. The latter was con- 
siderably darker, and lacked both the refinement of 
feature and dignity of expression which disting- 
uished the younger man. Nevertheless, when he 
spoke it was in the tone of familiarity, almost of 
paternal authority. 

"Art thou not weary, my son?" he asked abrupt- 
ly. "For an hour thou hast neither moved nor 
spoken. Tell me with what thy thoughts are con- 
cerned. I would fain know, and thy face has told 
me nothing." 

Nehal Singh let the curtain fall back into its 
place, and the yellow patch of sunshine upon the 
marble faded. He looked at his companion stead- 
fastly, but with eyes that saw nothing. 

"My thoughts r he repeated, in a low, musical 
voice. "My thoughts are valueless. They are like 
caged birds which have beaten their wings against 
the bars of their cage and now sit on their golden 
perches and dream of the world beyond." He 
laughed gently. "No, my father. You, who have 
seen the world, would mock at them as dim, unreal 
reflections of a reality which you have touched and 
bandied. For me they are beautiful enough." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



NEHAL SINGH 31 

The old man lifted himself on his elbow. 

"Thinkest thou never of thyself?" he asked. "In 
thy dreams hast thou never seen thine own form 
rise at the call of thy waiting people?" 

"My waiting people !" Nehal Singh repeated, 
with a smile and a faint lifting of the eyebrows. 
"No people wait for me, my father. So much I have 
learned. I bear a title, a tract of land acknowledges 
my rule — but a people I No, like my title, like my 
power, like myself, so is the people that thou sayest 
await me — a dream, my father, a dream I" He spoke 
gravely, without sadness, the same gentle, wistful 
smile playing about his lips. 

The other sank back with a groan. 

"The All-Highest pity me!" he exclaimed bitter- 
ly. "A child of blood and battle, without energy, 
without ambition I" 

Nehal Singh, who had paced forward to the foot 
of the throne, turned and looked back. 

"Ambition I have had," he answered, "energy I 
have had. Like my thoughts, they have beaten 
themselves weary against the bars of their cage. 
What would you have me do?" He strode back to 
the door, and, pulling aside the curtain, let the full 
dazzling sunshine pour in upon them. "See out 
there!" he cried. "Is it not a sight to bring peace to 
the soul of the poet and the dreamer? But for the 
warrior? Cao he draw his sword against flowers 
and trees ?" 

The old man smiled coldly, but not without sat- 
isfaction. 

"There is a world that awaiteth thee beyond/' 
he said. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



32 THE NATIVE BORN 

"A world of which I know nothing." 

"The time comcth." 

Nehal Singh studied the wrinkled face with a 
new tntentness. 

"Hitherto thou hast always held a barrier be- 
tween the world and me," he said. "When the call 
to the Durbar came, it was thou who bade me say 
I was ill. When the Feringhi sought my presence, 
it was thou who held fast my door, first /-..h one 
excuse, then with another. And now? ' do not 
understand thee." 

Behar Asor struggled up into a sitting posture, 
his features rendered more malignant by a glow of 
fierce triumph. 

"Ay, the barrier has been there I" he cried. "It 
is I who have held it erect all these years when 
they thought me dead and powerless. It is I who 
have kept thee spotless and undehled, Nehal Singh, 
thou alone of all thy race and of all thy caste ! The 
shadow of the Unbeliever has never crossed thy 
man's face, his food thy lips, nor has his hand 
touched thy man's hand. Thou art the chosen of 
Brahma, and when the hour striketh and the Holy 
War proclaimed from east to west and from north 
to south, then it shall be thy sword — " 

Nehal Singh held up his hand with a gesture of 
command. 

'Thou also art a dreamer," he said firmly. "Thy 
heart is full of an old hatred and an old injury. My 
heart is free from both. Seest thou, my father, 
there were years when thy words called up some 
echo in me. Thou toldest me of the Feringhi, of 
the bloody battles thou foughtest against them be- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



NEHAL SINGH 33 

cause they had wronged thee; how, after Fortune 
had smiled faintly, thou wert driven into exile, and 
I, thy son, bereft of all save pomp and title, placed 
upon thy empty throne. These things made ray 
blood boil. In those days I thought and planned 
for the great hour when I should seek revenge for 
thee and for myself. That is all past." 

"Why all past?" Behar Asor demanded. 

"Because the truth drifted in to me from the 
outer world. I saw that everywhere there waa 
peace such as my land, even after thy account, has 
rarely known. Law and order reigned where there 
had been plundering and devastation, prosperity 
where there had been endless famine. More than 
this, I saw that in every conflict, whether between 
beast and beast or man and man, it was always the 
strongest and wisest that conquered. The triumph 
of the fool and weakling is but a short one, nor is 
the nde of crime and wickedness of long duration. 
Why, then, should I throw myself against a people 
who have brought my people prosperity, and who 
have proved themselves in peace and war our mas- 
ters in courage and wisdom?" 

Behar Asor struggled up, galvanized by a storm 
of passion which shook his fragile frame from head 
to foot. 

'Thou art still no more than an ignorant boy," 
he exclaimed. "What knowest thou of these 
things?" 

"I have read of Englishmen whose deeds outrival 
the legends of Krishna," Nehal Singh answered 
thoughtfully. "They fought in your time, my 
father. Thou knowest them better than I." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



34 THE NATIVE BORN 

The old man ground his teeth together. 

"They are dead," There was a reluctant admira- 
tion in his tone. 

"Nevertheless, their sons live." 

"The sons inherit not always the courage of their 
fathers," Behar Asor answered, with a bitter sig- 
nificance. 

Nehal Singh had wandered back to the throne, 
as though drawn thither by some irresistible attrac- 
tion, and stood there motionless, his arms folded 
across his breast. 

"Do not blame me," he said at last. "No man 
can 'go against himself. Were it in my power, I 
would do thy will. As it is, without cause or rea- 
son I can not draw my sword against men whose 
fathers have made my heart beat with sympathy 
and admiration." 

Behar Asor sank back in an attitude of absolute 
despair. 

"I am accursed !" he said. 

With a smothered sigh, Nehal Singh mounted' 
the steps and seated himself. In his attitude also 
there was a hopelessness — not indeed the hopeless- 
ness of a man whose plans are thwarted, but of one 
who is keenly conscious that he has no plans, no 
goal, no purpose. As he sat there, his fine head 
thrown back against the white ivory, his eyes half 
closed, his fingers loosely clasping the golden pea* 
cocks' heads which formed the arms of his throne, 
there was, as he had said, something dreamlike and 
unreal about his whole person, intensified perhaps 
by the dim atmosphere and shadowy splendor of his 
surroundings. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



NEHAL SINGH 35 

Behar Asor had ceased to watch him, but lay 
motionless, with his face covered by the white man- 
tle which he wore about his shoulders. The first 
storm of angry disappointment over, he had re- 
lapsed into a passive oriental acceptance of the inevit- 
able, which did not, however, exclude an undercurrent 
of bitter brooding and contempt 

Some time passed before either of the two men 
spoke. At last Behar Asor lifted his head and 
glanced quickly sidewise at the iigure seated on 
the throne. Nehal Singh's eyes were now entirely 
closed and seemed to sleep. Such a proceeding 
would have been excusable enough in the suffocat- 
ing heat, but the sight drove the old man into a 
fresh paroxysm of indignation, 

"Sleepest thou, Nehal Singh?" he demanded, in 
a harsh, rasping voice. "Is it not sufficient that thou 
hast failed thy destiny, but in the same hour thou 
must close thine eyes and dream, like a child on whose 
shoulders rest no duty, no responsibility? Awake] I 
have more to say to thee." 

Nehal Singh looked up. 

"I have not slept," he said gravely, "though, as 
to what concerns duty and responsibility, I might 
well have done so, for I have neither the one nor 
the other. Speak, I pray thee. I listen." 

Behar Asor remained silent a moment, biting bis 
forefinger. There was something in the action 
strongly reminiscent of a cunning, treacherous an- 
imal. 

"Thou hast laughed at thine own power," he said 
at last, "though I have sworn to thee that, as in 
my time, so to-day, the swords that sleep in a hun- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



36 THE NATIVE BORN 

dred thousand sheathes would awake at thy word. 
They sleep because thou sleepest. Well — thou hast 
willed to sleep. I can not force thee, and mine own 
hand has grown too feeble. But since thou hast 
chosen peace, remember this, that it can last only 
with thy lifetime. So long thy people will be pa- 
tient. Afterward — " He shrugged his shoulders 
significantly. 

'Thou hast more to tell me," Nehal Singh said. 

"If thou wilt keep peace in thy land, see to it 
that thou hast children who will carry it on for thee 
after thou hast passed into the shadow," Behar an- 
swered. "Hitherto thou hast led a strange and lone- 
ly life, preparing as I willed for the destiny thou 
hast cast aside. Take now unto thee a companion — 
a wife." 

As though clumsy, untutored fingers which had 
until now tortured some fine instrument had sud- 
denly, perhaps by chance, perhaps by instinct, 
struck a pure harmonious chord, Nehal Singh rose 
to his feet, his weary dreamer's face transfigured 
with a new light and new energy. 

"A wife!" he said under his breath. "A woman! 
I know nothing of women. In all my life I have 
seen but two — my mother and a nautch-girl — who 
cringed to me. I should not like my wife to cringe 
to me. Are there not such as could be my com- 
panion, my comrade? Or are they all servile 
slaves ?" 

Behar Asor laughed shortly and contemptuously. 

"They are our inferiors," he said, "hence they 
can not be more than companions for our idle hours. 
But you will have idle hours enough, and there 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



NEHAL SINGH 37 

would be many who would call themselves blessed 
to share themselves with thee. A ^eat alliance — " 

Nehal Singh interrupted h^m with the old ges- 
ture of authority. 

"Thou hast said enough, my father," he said. "I 
will think upon it. Until then — leave me my peace." 

With a slow, meditative step he went back to the 
curtained doorway and, pulling aside the hangings, 
went out on to the balcony. It was four o'clock, 
and already the heat of the day had broken. Long 
rays of sunlight struck eastward across the garden 
and touched with their faded golden fingers the 
topmost turrets of the temple. In the distance the 
shadows of the jungle had advanced and, like the 
waves of a rising tide, seemed to swallow up, step 
by step, the brightness of the prospect. Nehal 
Singh descended the winding stair that led to the 
first terrace. Thence three paths stretched them- 
selves before him. He chose the central one, and 
with bowed head passed between the high, half- 
wild, half-cultivated borders of plants and shrubs. 
A faint evening breeze breathed its intangible per- 
fume against his cheek, and he looked up smiling. 

"A woman I" he murmured dreamily. "A woman !" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER IV 



THE dominion over which Rajah Nehal Singh 
exercised his partial authority was a tract of un- 
fruitful land extending over about two hundred 
square miles and sparely inhabited by a branch of 
the Aryan race which through countless genera- 
tions had kept itself curiously aloof from its neigh- 
bors. The greater number were Hindus of the 
strictest type, and perhaps owing to their natural 
conservatism they had succeeded in keeping their 
religion comparatively free from the abuses and 
distortions which it was forced to undergo in other 
regions. Up to the year i8 — the state had been 
to all practical purposes independent. Its poverty 
and unusual integral cohesion made it at once a 
dangerous enemy and an undesirable dependent, 
which it was tacitly agreed to let alone until such 
time when action should become imperative. That 
time had come under the reign of Behar Asor — 
then Behar Singh, This prince, who, his followers 
declared, could trace his descent from Brahma him- 
self, unexpectedly, after he had been living in hand- 
in-glove friendship with his European nei^bors, 
proclaimed a Holy War, massacred all foreigners 
within his reach, and for eighteen long months suc- 
ceeded, by means of a species of guerrilla warfare, 
38 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CIRCE 39 

in keeping the invading armies at bay. Partly ow- 
ing to the unfla^ng determination of the English 
troops, partly owing also to the intense hatred with 
which he was regarded by all Mohammedans, he 
was eventually overcome, though he himself was 
□ever captured. It was believed that he died while 
fleeing through the vast jungles with which his 
land was overgrown, and this idea was strength- 
ened by the fact that, though a large reward for his 
capture was offered, nothing further had ever been 
heard of him. 

From that time the land came under the more 
or less direct control of the Government. As a con- 
cession to the population, Behar Singh's one-year- 
old son was placed upon the throne under a native 
regency, but English regiments were stationed at 
the chief towns, and a political agent resided at the 
capital. Neither the regiments nor the political 
agent, however, found any work for their hands to 
do. A calm, as unexpected as it was complete, 
seemed to descend upon the whole country, and the 
officers who had taken up their posts with a loaded 
revolver in each hand, figuratively speaking, began 
very quickly to relapse instead into p^-stiddng, polo 
and cards. 

The climate was moderate, the vegetation beau- 
tiful if unprofitable, and the sport excellent. Thus 
it came about that a danger spot on the map of the 
Indian Empire became a European paradise, and 
that to be ordered to Marut was to become an ob- 
ject of envious congratulations. Not, as Mr. Arch- 
-ibald Travers had with justice complained, that the 
reigning pnqce, as in other states, took any part 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



40 THE NATIVE BORN 

in the general gaiety or in any way enhanced the 
agreeableness of his capital. As far as was known, 
no European eyes had ever lighted on him since his 
childhood. Under one excuse and another he had 
been kept persistently in the background, his place 
being taken first by the regent and then by succeed- 
ing ministers, until it was generally supposed that 
the young Rajah was either afflicted with some 
loathsome disease or mentally deficient, probabili- 
ties which the Government, with unpleasant recol- 
lections of Behar Singh's too great intelligence, ac- 
cepted with unusual readiness. There were no 
causes for suspicion. The Rajah never left the pre- 
cincts of his palace garden, a piece of land whose 
cultivation had cost untoM sums, and which, to- 
gether with the Hindu temple, was supposed to 
stand as the eighth wonder of the world. Fabu- 
lous stories were told of the beauty and rarity of 
the vegetation, and of the value of the jewels which 
were supposed to decorate the temple and royal 
apartments. As there was no opportunity of con- 
firming or refuting the statements, they were al- 
lowed to grow unhindered. 

It was in this small sphere that Nehal Singh 
spent his childhood, his youth and early manhood. 
Of the outer world he had seen nothing, though 
he had read much, his education extending over 
all European history and penetrating deep into that 
of his own country. Nevertheless, the picture his 
tnind had formed had little in common with the 
reality — it was too overshadowed by his own char- 
acter. As a blind man may be able, through hear- 
say, to describe his surroundings detail by detail 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CIRCE 41 

and ytt at the bottom be possessed by an entirely 
false conception, so Nehal Singh, to all appearances 
well instructed, was in reality as ignorant as a child. 
The heroes whose figures peopled his imagination 
were too heroic, the villains too evil, and both he- 
roes* and villains were either physically beautiful 
or hideous, according to their characters. 

He had no comrade against whose practical ex- 
perience he might have rubbed this distorted pic- 
ture into a more truthful likeness. His only com- 
panions had been his native instructors and the 
priests — men separated from him by a gulf of years 
and a curious lack of sympathy which he had in 
vain striven to overcome. Thus he had been in- 
tensely lonely, more lonely than he knew, though 
some dawning realization crept over him on this 
particular evening as he passed through the temple 
gates. For a moment he stood with his hands 
crossed over his breast, absorbed in prayer to Brah- 
ma, the Creator, in whose presence he was about 
to stand. In such an hour, amidst the absolute 
stillness, under the stupendous shadows of the 
walls, which had, unchanging, seen generation after 
generation of worshipers drift from their altars 
into the deeper shades of Patala, the young prince 
felt the wings of divine spirits brush close past him, 
bearing his prayer on unseen hands to the very ear 
of the golden-faced Trinity who, from his earliest 
years, had seemed to look down upon him with 
solemn kindness. 

This evening, more perhaps than ever before, 
every fiber in him vibrated beneath the toudt of the 
holy charm, and the prayer which passed sound- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



43 THE NATIVE BORN 

lessly over his lips came from a soul that wor- 
shiped in iiery earnestness and truth. A minute 
passed as he stood there, then, removing his shoes, 
he stepped over the threshold and walked forward 
between the gigantic granite columns which sup- 
ported what was left of the dome-shaped roof. 
There was no altar, no jewel, no figure cut in the 
hard stone that was not known to him with all their 
mysterious significance. Here had been spent all 
his leisure hours ; here had been dreamed his wild- 
est dreams ; beneath this column he had seen as in 
a vision how Vishnu took nine times human form 
and a tenth time came, according to the Holy Writ- 
ings, with a winged horse of spotless white, and 
crowned as conqueror. 

To-day these things pressed down upon him with 
all the weight of a tremendous reality. With beat- 
ing heart he entered at last into the Holy of Holies 
and stood before the god's high altar, visible only 
to those of purest caste. His head was once more 
bowed. He did not venture to look up at the gold- 
en figure whose ruby eyes, he knew, stared straight 
through his soul into every corner of the world and 
beyond into Eternity. His belief, pure, unsoiled 
from contact with the world, was a power that 
had g[one out into the darkness and conjured thence 
the spirits that shrank back from the cold prayer 
of the half-believer. They stood before him now 
— these wonderful spirits. He believed surely that, 
should he dare to raise his eyes, he would see them, 
definite yet formless, arising glorious out of the cloud 
of golden reflection from Brahma's threefold fore- 
hwd. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



Thas he prayed, not kneeling, since the god cared 
only for his soul: 

"Oh, Lord Brahma, Creator, hear me I Thou who 
madest me knowest whither I came and whither I 
go; but I, who am as the wind that bloweth as thou 
listeth, as a flower that springeth up in the night 
and unseen fadeth in the midday heat, I know not 
thy purpose nor the end for which I am. Lord 
Brahma, teach me, for my soul panteth after knowl- 
edge. Show me the path which I must tread, for 
I am weary with dreams. Teach me to serve my 
people — be it hand in hand with the Strat^r and 
his gods, be it alone. Teach me to act, and that 
right soon; for my childhood days are spent and 
my man's arm heavy with idleness. Send me forth 
— but not alone — not alone. Lord Brahma, for I am 
heart-sick of loneliness. Give me my comrade, my 
comrade who shall be more to me than — " 

He stopped and, obeying an impulse stronger than 
himself, lifted his face to the idol. It had vanished. In 
its place stood a woman. 

At another and cooler moment, with a mind filled 
with other thoughts, with a heart untroubled by 
new and all-powerful emotions, he would have 
known her, if only from hearsay, for what she was. 
But with that passionate prayer upon his lips, she 
was for him the answer, a divine recognition of 
his need and of his lately recognized loneliness. 

Tall, slettder, with a pale, transparent complex- 
ion, touched like a young rose with the faintest 
cokn*, daric, grave eyes and hair that seemed a part of 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



44 THE NATIVE BORN 

the obscured god, whose pure lines, though foreign, 
harmonized in every detail with the classic beauty of 
her surroundings, she stood and watched him, as he 
watched her, in perfect silence. 

"Lakshmi !" he murmured at last ; and, as though 
the one word had broken a charm which held them 
both paralyzed, she smiled, and the smile lit up the 
Madonna foce and made it as human as it had seemed 
divine. 

"Forgive me," she began, speaking in English, 
"I am afraid I have disturbed you, but — " She 
paused, apparently confused by the directness of 
his gaze. The faint pink upon her cheek deepened. 

"Who are you?" he demanded in his own tongue. 

Her look of non-comprehension steadied him, at 
least outwardly, though it did not check the fierce, 
painful beating of his pulses. He repeated the 
question in pure though hesitating English. 

"I am an Englishwoman," she answered at once, 
"and have lost my way. For hours — it seems hours, 
at any rate — I have been wandering hither and 
thither, trying to find my party, with whom I was 
enjoying an excursion. By some chance I came 
across this temple, and hoped to meet some one who 
might help me. You see, I am a stranger in this 
part of the world, I — I hope I have done no 
wrong?" 

She looked at him pleadingly, but he ignored her 
question. It never occurred to him to doubt her 
explanation, or wonder at the unlikeliness of the 
chance which should have led her through the in- 
tricate paths to this hallowed spot. 

"You are English?" he echoed. The fever in 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



"e'oogic 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



CIRCE 45 

his blood was subsiding, but, like some great crisis, 
it was leaving: him changed. It had swept him out 
of the world of languorous, enchanted dreams into 
a world of not less enchanted reality. 

"I fear I am presumptuous," she began again ; 
"but are you not the Rajah? If so, I am certain you 
must be very, very angry. For the Rajah — so I 
have been told — does not love the English." 

She smiled again, meeting his unwavering gaze 
with a frank good-humor which for him was more 
wonderful even than her beauty. No woman — and 
for that matter, no man — had ever dared to look 
him in the eyes with such a laughing, fearless chal- 
lenge. 

"Yes, I am the Rajah," he answered. Then, after 
a pause, he added with great simplicity, "You are 
very beautiful." 

She laughed outright, and the laugh, which rang 
like the peal of a silver bell through the vaulted 
chamber, filled him with a sudden sense of her dan- 
ger. She stood with her back turned indififerently 
on the golden image, an Unbeliever whose shod 
feet were defiling the sacred precincts, an object, 
then, for hatred and revenge — not for him, truly. 
In his eyes she was still an emissary from Brahma, 
and thus in herself half sacred; but he knew well 
enough that such would not be the opinion of the 
few fierce priests who worshiped in the temple. 

"You are not safe here," he said, with an energy 
which was new to him. "Gomel" 

He led her hurriedly out of the sanctuary into 
the great entrance hall. There he slackened speed 
and waited until she reached his side. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



46 THE NATIVE BORN 

"For a foreigner it is not safe to enter the temple," 
he explained. "Had any one but myself found 
you, I could not answer for the consequences." 

"They would have harmed me?" 

"It is possible." 

"That would have been terrible t" she said, glanc- 
ing at him with eyes that expressed rather a daring 
courage than fear. 

"Most terrible," he assented earnestly. 

"Yet — ^you also. Your Highness, you have also 
the same reasons for anger. My intrusion, innocent 
though it was, must have been equally offensive to 
you." 

"No," he said. "That is quite different." 

He offered no further explanation, and together 
they passed out of the two immense gopuras into 
the evening sunshine. 

"I will bring you to the gates which lead on to 
the highroad," he went on. "Thence one of my ser- 
vants will conduct you back to the town, where I trust 
you will find your friends," 

"You are most good," she answered gratefully. 

They walked side by side between the high walls 
of cypress and palm. The path was a narrow one, 
and once his hand brushed lightly against hers. 
The touch sent a flood of fire through his young 
veins. He drew back with a courtesy which sur- 
prised himself. He had never been taught that 
courtesy toward a woman could ever be required 
of him. Of women he had heard little save that 
they were inferior, in intellect and judgment no 
more than slaves, and his curiosity had at once been 
satiated. He sought things above him — those be- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CIRCE 47 

neath him excited no more than indifference. But 
this woman was neither an inferior nor a slave. 
Her free, erect carriage, steadfast, fearless eyes pro- 
claimed the equal. So much his instinct taught 
him in those brief moments, and his eager curiosity 
concerning her grew and deepened. Every now 
and again his gaze sought her face, drinking in with 
an almost passionate thirst the fine detail of her 
profile, compared to which his dreams were poor 
and lifeless. Once it chanced that she also glanced 
at him, and that they looked at each other for less 
than a breathing space full in the eyes. 

"I fear you are angry. Your Highness," she said 
earnestly. "I must have offended against your 
laws even more than I know." 

"Why do you think I am angry?" he asked. 

"You have scarcely spoken." 

"Forgive me ! That is no sign of anger. I am 
still overcome with the strangeness of it all. You 
are the first English person I have ever met," 

She stood still, with an exclamation of surprise. 

"Is that possible? I thought all Indian princes 
mixed with English people. Many, indeed, go to 
England to be educated — " 

"So I have heard," he broke in, with a faint 
haughtiness, "I am not one of them." 

"Yet you speak the language so perfectly I" she 
said. 

A g^eam of naive pleasure shone out of his dark 
eyes. 

"I am gjad you think so. My— <nie of my mioisters 
taught me." 

They walked on again. Here and there she 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



48 THE NATIVE BORN 

stopped to look at some curious plant — always a 
little in advance of him — so that he had opportunity 
to study the hundred things about her which con- 
firmed his wondering, increasing admiration. Sli^t 
as she was, there was yet a gracefully controlled 
strength in every movement. In his own mind, 
poor as it necessarily was in comparisons, he com- 
pared her to a young doe he had once startled from 
its resting-place. There was the same fragile beau- 
ty, the same grace, the same high-strung energy. 
In nothing was she like the women painted for him 
by his father's hand — things for idle, sensuous 
pleasure, never for serious action. 

Plunged in a happy confusion of thought, he had 
once more relapsed into silence, from which she 
startled him with a question evidently connected 
with their previous conversation. 

"And so you have lived all your life in this lovely 
garden?" she said, looking up at him with a grave 
wonder in her eyes. 

"All my life," he answered. 

"You have never seen anything of the world?" 

"Never." He felt the pity tn her tone, and added, 
with a shamefacedness curiously in contrast with 
his former hauteur : "But I have read much," 

"That is not the same thing," she returned. "No 
book could make you understand how wonderful 
and beautiful things are." 

He looked at her, and for a second time their 
eyes met. 

"You are right," he said, "Hitherto I have 
thought myself all-wise. I have studied hard, and 
I believed there was nothing I did not know. Now 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CIRCE 49 

I see that there are wonders in the world of which 
I have never even dreamed." 

Her glance wavered beneath the undisguised ad- 
miration in his eyes and voice. Then she asked 
gently : 

"Now that you have seen, will you not leave 
your hermitage? Surely it is wrong to shut one's 
heart against the world in which one lives. There 
is so much work to be done, so much to learn, and 
you have been granted power and wealth. Your 
Highness. The call upon your help is greater than 
upon others." 

His brows knitted. 

"Do you hate us so?" she asked. 

"Hate you?" he repeated wonderingly. "Why 
should I hate you?" 

"Yet, from your tone, I judged that you had kept 
seclusion because intercourse with my country-peo- 
ple meant defilement," she said boldly. 

A flush crept up under his dark skin. 

"Those are things I can not explain," he said ; 
"but they have nothing to do with hatred. I have 
heard much of the English heroes. Their deeds of 
daring and self-sacrifice have filled my heart with 
love and veneration. I know that they are the 
greatest and noblest people of the earth. I love 
great and noble people. I do not hate them." 

"I am glad," she said. 

They had reached the gates which opened out 
on to the highroad, and as though by mutual consent 
both came to a standstill. 

"Your Highness has been most good to me," she 
went on. "I can find my way perfectly now. I am 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



50 THE NATIVE BORN 

only puzzled to know how I should ever have lost 
it so much as to have wandered into your garden," 

"Some sentry must have slept," he remarked 
grimly, 

"But you will not punish any one?" 

"Whoever it was, he was only the servant of des- 
tiny, like us all," he said. "No harm shall come to 
him." He paused, and then added with a slight 
effort : "One of the sentries shall accompany you." 

"No, no," she answered energetically. "That is 
not necessary. I would rather go alone." 

He pointed upward to the sky, whose blue was deep- 
ening into the violet shades of night 

"It will be dark before you reach your destina- 
tion," he said. "Are you not afraid?" 

She laughed merrily, 

"Of what should I be afraid? There are no man- 
eaters about here, as I understand. As for men, I 
am prepared to encounter at least six of them. 
Look !" She drew from the bosom of her dress a 
small revolver of exquisite workmanship, and held 
it out to him. "It has all six chambers loaded," she 
added. 

He took the weapon, pretending to examine it; 
but his pulses had recommenced their painful beat- 
ing, and he saw nothing but her face. 

"Are all Englishwomen so brave and beautiful?" 

This time she did not laugh at the simplicity of 
the question. 

"Come and see," she answered boldly. He said 
nothing, and she went on : "At any rate, I must go 
now. My people will be very anxious, and I have 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CIRCE 51 

so much to tell them. They will envy me the priv- 
ileg:e I have enjoyed of seeing your wonderful gar- 
dens. I shall tell them how kind you have been to 
a foolish wanderer." 

"If the gardens please you, they are always open 
to you," he said. 

She shook her head sadly. 

"I am afraid it is not possible. You see, I could 
not come alone. Propriety will forgive me this 
once, because it was an accident — a second time, 
and my reputation would be gone for ever." She 
held out her hand frankly. "So it must be good-by 
for ever!" 

An instant he hesitated, torn between a deep in- 
grained principle and desire. Then he took the 
small hand in his own. 

"It will not be good-by for ever," he said. "We 
shall meet again." 

"I should be glad. We have been quite good 
friends, haven't we? But you see, you will be in a 
garden into which I may not enter, and I in a world 
which for you is forbidden ground. I am afraid 
there is no hope." 

"Nevertheless, we shall meet again," he repeated. 

"Why are you so certain?" 

He smiled dreamily. 

"Nothing in this world happens without pur- 
pose," he answered. "So much my books and eyes 
have taught me. We do not drift aimlessly into 
each other's lives. We are borne on the breast of 
a strong current which flows out of the river of 
Fate, and whether we meet for good or evil is ac- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



52 THE NATIVE BORN 

cording to the will of God. But of one thing I am 
sure 1 it must be for good or evil." 

For a moment she said nothing. Her face was 
turned away from him, and when at last she spoke, 
her voice had lost something of its daring certainty, 

"I hope, then, our meeting is for our good," she 
said. 

"I feel that it is," he answered. 

He led her past the bewildered, terrified sentry on 
to the grey, dusty highroad. It was the first time that 
his feet had crossed the threshold. 

"I shall watch you till you are out of sight," he 
said. "Good-by." 

"Good-by — and thank you I" 

According to his word, he stood where she had 
left him, his eyes fixed immovably, like those of a 
bronze statue, on the slight, elastic figure, as it 
hurried toward the lights of the distant Station. When 
at last the purple mist had swallowed her from his 
sight, he looked up toward the heavens. 

Just where the mist ended and the clear sky be- 
gan, the evening star rose in its first splendor and 
shone through the dry atmosphere, signaling to its fel- 
lows that night was come. One by one others followed. 
As time passed, the moon in a cloud of silver lifted 
herself in stately progress above the black outline of 
the jungle and touched with her first beams the filigree 
minarets of the temple. 

Nehal Singh bowed his head in prayer. 

"Oh, Lord Brahma, I thank thee!" 

A short-lived breath of evening air caught up the 
passionate murmur of his voice and mingled it with 
the rustling of the Sacred Tree whose restless, 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CIRCE 53 

shimmering, silver leaves hung above his head. He 
understood their whisper as he listened. It was 
the accents of the god to whom he prayed, and all 
the poetic mysticism of his nature responded to the 
call. 

"Oh, Lord Brahma, Creator, I thank thee!" he 
repeated; then turned, and with head still bowed, 
passed back throi^ the high marble gates. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER V 

SUtCHIBALD TKAVESS PLAYS BRIDGE 

THE ayah put the last touches to Beatrice Gary's 
golden hair, drew back a little to judge the general 
effect, and then handed her mistress the hand- 
glass. 

"Is that well so, missy?" she asked. "Missy look 
wonderful to-night — wonderful I" 

Beatrice examined herself carefully and critical- 
ly, without any show of impatience. Only a close 
observer would have noticed that her eyes had the 
strained, concentrated look of a person whose 
thoughts are centered elsewhere than on the imme- 
diate subject. 

"Yes, that will do," she assented, after a moment. 
"You have done extra well to-night. You can go." 

"Not help missy with dress?" 

"No, you can go. I shall only want you again 
when I come back." 

The ayah fidgeted with the garments that lay 
scattered about the room, but an imperative ges- 
ture hastened her exit, and she slipped silently from 
the room, drawing the curtains after her. 

Beatrice watched her departure in the glass, and 
then, turning in her chair, looked at the lat^^id, ex- 
hausted %ure upon the couch. 

"Now, if you have anything to say, mother, say 
it," she said. ".We are quite alone." 
54 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



TRAVERS PLAYS BRIDGE 55 

"I have a great deal to say," Mrs. Gary began, in 
a tone of extreme injury, "and first of all, I must 
ask you not to interrupt me in the way you did just 
now before the — the what-do-you-call-it? — the ayah. 
I can not and will not stand being corrected before 
my own servants." 

"I did not correct you," Beatrice returned coldly. 
"I stopped you from making disclosures to ears 
which know enough English to understand more 
than is good for either of us, and whose discretion 
is on a par with that of our late friend, Mary Jane. 
It seems impossible to make you realize that English 
is not a dead language." 

"You are very rude to me t" Mrs. Gary protested, 
in high, quavering tones that threatened tears. 
"Very rude I Beatrice, you ought to be ashamed — " 

"I am not rude. I am only telling you the simple 
truth." 

"Well, then, you are not respectful." 

"Respectful!" The reiteration was accompanied 
with a laugh which brought into use all the harsh, 
unpleasing notes in the girl's voice. She turned 
away from her mother, and with one white elbow 
resting on the dressing-table, began to play idly 
with the silver ornaments. "No, I suppose I am not 
respectful," she went on calmly. "I think we are 
too intimate for that, mother. We know each other too 
well, and have spoken about things too plainly. People, 
I imagine, only retain the respect of their fellow-crea- 
tures so long as they keep themselves and their projects 
a haloed mystery. That isn't our case. There are no 
haloes or mysteries between us, are there ?" 

"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," Mrs. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



56 THE NATIVE BORN 

Gary declared plaintively. "There are moments, 
Beatrice, when I think you talk nonsense." 

"I am sure you do!" An ironical smile played 
an instant round the small mouth, then she went 
on calmly: "Let us put our personal grievances 
against each other aside, mother. Revenons d nos mou- 
tons. You were saying, when I interrupted you, that 
you were afraid of Mr. Travers. Why?" 

"Why! You know as well as I do. I recognized 
him at once, and the sight of his face nearly gave 
me a heart stroke. Of course you remember him. 
He gave evidence against your poor, dear father 
when — " 

Beatrice Gary held up her hand. 

"That is one of the advantages of having dis- 
carded the mystery and halo," she said. "We do 
not need to go into any details concerning ourselves 
or the past. I know quite well to what you refer. 
To be quite honest, I did recognize him, only I did 
not let him see that I did." 

"And then you ask why I am afraid!" 

"I fail to see what harm he can do us." 

"He can tell the truth." 

Beatrice Gary rose and began to slip into the 
white silk dress which hung across the back of her 
chair. 

"The truth 1" she said meditatively. "That is 
something, mother, of which, I fear, you and I will 
never rid ourselves. It has chased us out of Eng- 
land and out of all possible parts of Europe; and, 
large though India is, it seems already to have 
tracked us down. It has a good nose for fugitives, 
apparently," 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS PLAYS BRIDGE 57 

Mrs. Cary sat up, mopping her florid face free 
from tears of irritability. 

"You will drive me mad one of these days I" she 
cried. "You laugh at everything. You laugh even 
at this, though it concerns our whole future here — " 

"Excuse me for interrupting you again. I take 
the matter very much to heart — so much so that 
there are moments when I am thoroughly weary of 
it, and feel inclined to write on a large placard: 
'Here standeth Beatrice McConnel, alias Cary, 
daughter of the — 

"Be silent !" broke in the elder woman furiously. 
"Do you really want the whole Station to be taken 
into our confidence?" 

"I am sorry!" with half-sincere, half-mocking 
contrition. "I am as bad as you are. But, as I say, 
there are times when I should like to shriek the 
truth in the world's face, and see what it would do. 
I don't think anything could be worse than our 
present life." 

"If you did anything of the sort, I should take 
poison," Mrs. Cary declared. 

"No, you wouldn't. We should move on to an- 
other continent, and try our luck there, that's all. 
It's the very futility of truth-telling which pre- 
vents me from experimenting in that direction. 
Perhaps, as you suggest, Mr, Travers will take the 
task from my shoulders." 

Mrs. Cary rose to her feet and came ponderously 
over to her daughter's side. Her voice, when she 
spoke, was troubled with genuine emotion. 

"Beatrice," she said, "I don't ask respect of you — 
I don't suppose it would be any sort of good if I 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



58 THE NATIVE BORN 

did. You haven't any respect in you. But at any 
rate have some consideration for me. You needn't 
make my life worse than it is. It's no use your say- 
ing to me, 'Give up the money, and hide your head.' 
I can't. I never could hide my head, and at the 
bottom I don't believe you could cither. It's the 
way we are made. Ever since I was a little child, 
and played about in my father's shop, I wanted 
people to bow down to me and respect me. I meant 
that one day they should. When I married they 
did — for a time at least. When the crash came, 
and — and all the shame, I just ran away from it. 
I couldn't have done anything else. Ever since 
then I have been trying to build things up else- 
where, and I had to have money for it. You can't 
blame me, Beatrice. You aren't any better. You 
always want to be first in your singing and your 
painting, you always want the best of what's go- 
ing. You always want to be admired and success- 
ful in everything you do. You take after me in 
that." A note of curious pride crept into her voice. 
"So it's just like this, Beatrice — I can't live without 
position. I may not take poison, but I shall die all 
the same if I can't play a part in the world. Ail I 
ask is that you help me all you can. It's not much. 
I've been a pretty decent mother to you. You 
can't say that there was ever a time when I grudged 
you a pretty frock or a dance — " She stopped in 
her long speech, yielding to Beatrice's irrepressible 
gesture of impatience. 

"You needn't have gone into so much explana- 
tion," the girl said, fastening a small diamond pen- 
dant round her white neck. "I know you and I 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS PLAYS BRIDGE 59 

know myself. As to my gratitude, I am fully aware 
of what I owe you, and am ready to pay. What do 
you want me to do?" 

"Don't go against me," 

"I haven't done so yet. I don't mean to. As far 
as I can recollect, I've pulled us both out of as aany 
scrapes as you have landed us into," Beatrice re- 
plied. 

"I know. That's why I want you to do your best 
now." 

"To do what?" 

"To keep Manit tolerable for us." 

"I can't prevent Mr. Travers gossiping if be wants 
to." 

A smile flitted over Mrs. Gary's fat face, robbing 
it of its good-nature and leaving it merely vulgarly 
cunning. 

"You could if you wanted to." 

"How?" 

"Oh, you know I You have a way with men. You 
could shut his mouth." 

Beatrice laughed outright. 

"There are moments when you betray your origin 
in the most painful way, mother," she said cruelly. 
"A remark like that in Mrs. Carmichael's hearing, 
and we should And Marut too hot for us without any 
assistance from Mr. Travers." 

"I'm sorry," Mrs. Gary apol<:^;ized humWy. "It 
clipped out. What I meant was, that I am sure 
you could manage him. And you know you could, 
Beatrice." 

Beatrice looked at her reflection in the glass. 
There was little feminine vanity in the glance — 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



6o THE NATIVE BORN 

rather a cool judging and appraising, untempered 
with any personal prejudice. 

"I suppose I could," she admitted. 

"Won't you?" 

"Would it make you very happy?" 

"It would be my first moment's real peace since 
I saw Mr. Travers at the garden-party." 

"Well, I'll do my best." 

"You promise?" 

"Yes, I'll promise if you want me to." 

Mrs. Gary drew a deep sigh of relief, 

"That's one thing about you, you keep your prom- 
ises, Beatrice," she said. 

"It is rather curious, under the circumstances, 
isn't it?" the younger woman returned, submitting 
to the mother's grateful embrace with an indiffer- 
ence which seemed to indicate more than an indiffer- 
ence — rather a stoic, smothered antipathy. When 
it was over, and Mrs. Gary had once more en- 
sconced herself on the lounge, Beatrice shook her 
shoulders as though thrusting something intense- 
ly disagreeable away from her. 

"In any case, it may be too late," she said, put- 
ting the finishing touches to her toilet. "If Mr. 
Travers meant to tell, he has probably done so al- 
ready. I shall be able to judge by Mrs. Carmi- 
chael's hand-shake to-night." 

"Wc must hope for the best," returned Mrs. Cary, 
with pious resignation. 

The two women relapsed into silence. Beatrice 
hovered lightly about the room, collecting her fan, 
handkerchief and gloves, every now and again cast- 
ing the same curious, unloving glance at herself 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS PLAYS BRIDGE 6i 

in the long mirror. Presently she went to the win- 
dow and pulled aside the muslin curtain. 

"Some one is driving up the avenue," she said. 
"It's a dog-cart. I wonder who it is." 

"A dog-cart!" Mrs. Cary repeated thoughtfully. 
"Now, who has a dog-cart in MarutF Not many 
people, I fancy." A dull flush mounted her coarse 
cheeks. "Why," she exclaimed, "I believe Mr. 
Travers has t" 

Beatrice dropped the curtain back into its place. 

"That would be a coincidence, wouldn't it?" she 
remarked, with a faint irony from which her tone 
had never been wholly free. 

A minute later the ayah entered the room. 

"Travers Sahib is here," she announced. "He 
asks if missy drive with him to the Colonel Sahib 
in his cart. Travers Sahib waiting." 

Beatrice and her mother exchanged glances. 

"Very well," Beatrice then said quietly. "Tell 
Travers Sahib I shall be delighted. Paul need not 
bring round the carriage." 

The ayah retired, and with an undisturbed calm 
Beatrice proceeded to slip into her evening cloak. 

"At any rate, he hasn't spoken yet," she said. 
"Fate seems to mean well with you, mother." 

"It all depends on you, Beatrice," the other re- 
turned impressively. 

"Do you think so? Well, I have halfran-hour's 
drive before me — tete-4-tete. I dare say I shall man- 
age. Good night!" She patted her mother lightly 
on the hand as she passed her on the way to the 
door. 

"Good-by, my dear. Do your best, won't you?" 



:,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



62 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Haven't I been broaght up to do my best?" 
Beatrice answered with a laugh. 

She hurried on to the verandah which faced out 
on the drive, the ayah accompanying her with numer- 
ous wraps and shawls. Archibald Travers, who had 
remained seated, greeted her with a cheerful wave of 
the whip. 

"Please excuse my getting down, Miss Cary," be 
said. "My horse is in a state of mind which does 
not allow for politeness. Can you trust yourself to 
his tender care?" 

"I am not in the least nervous," she answered, 
scrambling up to his side, "and a drive through this 
lovely air is worth a few risks. I was dreading the 
half-hour alone in our stuffy brougham." 

"I'm glad I came, then," he said. "I heard that 
Mrs. Caiy was ill and could not go, but I was not 
sure whether you would care for it There, are 
you tucked in all rig^t? Can we start?" 

"Yes, by all means." 

He cracked his whip, and immediately the im- 
patient chestnut sprang forward into the darkness. 
They swayed dangerously through the compound 
gates on to the broad, straight highroad. 

Beatrice laughed with excitement. 

"That was splendid I" she exclaimed, pulling her 
cloak closer round her. "How well you drivel" 

"You seem to enjoy danger," he said, with an 
amused smile. 

"Yes, I enjoy it," she answered, more gravely. 
"It is the only flavoring whidi I have hitherto dis- 
covered in life. The rest is rather insipid, don't you 

thinkr 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS PLAYS BRIDGE 63 

"You talk like a man," he said. 

"I have been brought up to be independent and 
fight for myself," she returned. "That sort of thing 
does away with the principal differences between 
the sexes." 

As she spoke they dashed suddenly into an ave- 
nue of high trees through whose branches the 
moonlight played fantastic, uncanny shadows on 
the white road. Travers' horse shied violently, and 
for some minutes his work was cut out for him in paci- 
fyii^ the excited animal. When they were once more 
bowling soxx)th]y over the open plain, he g^ced down 
at the girl beside him. 

She was smiling to herself. 

"You have nerve I" he remarked admiringly. 

"I have lots more when it is wanted," she an- 
swered, looking up at him. The light struck full on 
their faces, and they could read each other's expres- 
sions as clearly as if it had been midday. 

"How much farther is it at the rate we are go- 
ing?" she asked. 

"Another twenty minutes." 

"Another twenty minutes !" she repeated thought- 
fully. 'That is quite a long time, isn't it?" 

He flicked his whip across the horse's ears. 

"Yes, and I'm glad," he said. "Otherwise, I 
shouldn't have seen much of you. I happen to know 
that I am taking in Miss Caruthers to dinner, and 
dinner takes up most of the evening at these func- 
tions." 

"You are taking in Lois Caruthers t" she said, 
laughing. "I know of some one who will be an- 
noyed." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



64 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Stafford, you mean?" 

"And Lois herself." 

He joined in her amusemeat. 

"Yes, I suppose so." 

"You have a good-natured hostess. I dare say the 
arrangement could be altered if you wished it." 

"But I don't. They happen to be my arrange- 
ments, you see," 

"Oh !" she ejaculated, somewhat taken back. 

"On my left there will be Mrs. James, who, as 
you perhaps know, is stone deaf," he went on calm- 
ly. "On Miss Caruthers' right will be Mr. James, 
who from long custom never opens his mouth ex- 
cept to put something into it. Stafford will be 
right at the other end of the table." 

"You are malicious," she said. 

"Not a bit. I only go hard for what I want, 
that's all." He chuckled to himself and then went 
on: "I've confided to you my subtle underground 
plans — why, goodness knows. I am not usually of 
a confiding nature. But really. Miss Cary, I feel 
as though I had known you all my life." 

"We have already plotted together," she said, 
"Possibly that forms some sort of link between us." 

He glanced down at her, and this time, as she did 
not return his gaze, he was free to study her calm, 
undisturbed profile. 

"By Jove!" he exclaimed, half under his breath, 
"I don't blame the young fool for being taken in." 

Her brows contracted sharply. 

"Thank you. I suppose that is a compliment." 

"It is meant for one. By the way, are you really 
sure of your success?" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS PLAYS BRIDGE 65 

"Perfectly sure." 

"That's a good thing. We shall have the laugh 
over old Stafford and hts grandmother's ideas if it 
comes off, AH I fear is that the youth's impression- 
able mind may lose its impressions as quickly as it 
receives them." 

"I don't think so. He did not seem that sort" 

"Besides," added Travers, with a sudden drawl, 
"your face is not one that a man forgets easily, Miss 
Gary." 

She stirred very slightly in her seat. It was the 
instinctive movement of a woman bracing herself 
secretly for a coming shock. 

"Really?" 

"Yes, really. That was what I meant to tell you 
the other day, but there was no fitting opportunity. 
I recognized you at once." 

"And I you," she returned. 

He whistled. 

"So we recognized each other and didn't recognize 
each other. Rather a queer thing, eh ?" 

Again there was that scarcely noticeable stiffen- 
ing of her whole body. 

"I see nothing queer about it. We were both taken 
aback, and after the first shock we realized that to 
acknowledge a previous meeting was not to either 
of our advantages. You were ashamed; and I— 
well, you can guess my reasons." 

"By Jove! You know, you really are plucky 1" 
he burst out, with genuine admiration. 

'Thank you. You have intimated that to me 
already, and, as a matter of fact, there is no ques- 
tion oi plucic, I'm taking the bull by the horns 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



66 THE NATIVE BORN 

because I must. Mr. Travers, I can't live in the 
same place with you and not know if you are go- 
ing to explode the mine under our feet or not I 
may have nerve, but I haven't got nerve enou^ 
for that," 

"I see. You want to know whether I am going 
to gossip or hold my tongue. Is that it?" 

"Yes, that's it." 

"Suppose I gossip?" 

"I see no reason why you should be our enemy, 
so I don't mind admitting to you that it would 
spoil our plans." 

"What may they be?" 

"Firstly, to get clear of everything that has hap- 
pened. We've tried to do that in different places 
all over Europe, without success. Something or 
somebody has always cropped up and driven us 
away. It was just as though every one least con- 
cerned in the matter had made up their minds to 
track us down. At last mother thought of India, 
and of Marut in particular. My father held a 
small post somewhere about here before we left 
for England, and we make out that it is tender as- 
sociations and all that sort of thing. Of course, we 
might be found out any day, but perhaps people 
are not so curious out here, and it gives us a rest." 

"Might I ask why you take all this trouble?" 

"I was going to tell you. Because my mother 
wants what she calls position— she wants to mix with 
the best We couldn't do that in &igland, for the rea- 
sons I have given you. As for me — I fulfil my des- 
tiny. I am seeking a suitable husband." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS PLAYS BRIDGE 67 

He drew in his breath in something that was not 
unlike a gasp. 

"My dear Miss Cary, do you know what the 
world — particularly the woman world — would call 
you?" 

"Does call me, 3rou mean? Of course. An adven- 
turess." 

"To be quite frank, you've hit it. But I don't, I 
call you a jolly extraordinary and clever woman," 

"Please don't pay me compliments," she said 
coldly, "My cleverness — if I have any — is not 
more than that of any hunted animal who seeks 
cover where best he can. As to my being extraor- 
dinary, I do not see that you have any reason to 
call me so. You might as well say that it is extraor- 
dinary when a weed springs up where a weed has 
been sown — " 

"Or a flower," he interposed suavely. 

She sank back in her seat, saying nothing. Her 
silence was a weary sort of protest. 

Travers pulled out his watch with his free hand. 

"We have only five minutes more," he said, "We 
are splendidly up to time, I tell you what. Miss 
Cary — you can eat Colonel Carmichael's dinner in 
peace." She looked quickly at him. "I mean that 
I shall hold my tongue, I don't know that I ever 
intended doing anything else. I am not responsible 
to society, and in any case, no direct blame for the 
past can attach itself to you. As it is, after your 
confidence, I give you my word that I'll do my 
best to see you through here. You deserve it, and 
I have always had a sneaking sympathy for the 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



68 THE NATIVE BORN 

hunted fox and the much-abused weed. You can 
be quite easy in your mind," 

"Thank you," she said without much warmth. 

"I have only one condition — " he went on, and 
then hesitated. 

"I was waiting for that," she said. 

He laughed good-naturedly. 

"You know me very well already." 

"I know men," she retorted. 

"Well, then, I have a condition. Please don't 
look upon me as a sort of blackmailer. If you don't 
choose to agree to the condition, you needn't, I 
shan't on that account go round gossiping about 
your affairs. At the same time, I expect you would 
rather drive a fair and square bargain with me than 
be in any way in my debt." 

"You are quite right," she said quickly. 

"My condition is merely this : I want you, if the 
time and opportunity ever present themselves, to lend 
me a hand with my plans. I confess privately to 
you I have one or two irons in the fire up at Marut, 
and that it is pretty hard work single-handed. You 
are a clever woman, say what you like, and your 
help would be invaluable." 

"In what way?" 

"I will put it as short as possible. You know. 
Miss Cary, I am not a rich man, but I have got some 
big ideas and one at least of them requires wealth 
to be carried out. I have every reason to believe 
. that considerable mineral treasure lies buried under 
the native Bazaar in Marut, but I can do nothing 
unless some one comes to my assistance both with 
authority and money. The Rajah is the very man. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS PLAYS BRIDGE 69 

if only I can get him interested in my project. Will 
you help me?" 

"As I have gone so far I might as well go on," 
she assented indifferently. 

"Thanks. Then there is something else — I want 
to marry Lois Caruthers." 

Beatrice started and looked up at him as though 
she thought he might be joking. His face had in- 
deed undergone a change, but there was something 
stern, resolute, almost brutal in the hard-set profile. 

"Indeed? Will that not be more difficult? There 
is Stafford in the way, and Stafford — " 

"Stafford must be cleared out of the way," he in- 
terrupted, with a cool decision which his expres- 
sion partly belied. "I believe she is fond of him 
and he of her in a Platonic sort of fashion which 
might lead to marriage and might not. He is not 
the danger. There is a fellow, Nicholson, though 

He stopped short and seemed for an instant to 
be plunged in his own thoughts. 

"Who is this Nicholson?" she asked curiously. 
"I have heard his name constantly since I have 
been here. People talk of him as though he were 
a demigod. Why are you afraid of him?" 

"Just because of his godlike qualities," Travers 
explained, with a laugh. "In earlier ages, no doubt, 
he would have been a god and among the natives 
he is one. In reality, he is an ordinary mortal 
blessed with an extraordinary influence. I believe 
he is a captain in some native regiment on the fron- 
tiers and has done grand work there. I heard to- 
day that he is coming down to Marut on leave." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



70 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Oh— r 

"He was Lois' old playfellow," Travers added 
pointedly. 

"And so you are afraid of him?" 

"All women adore heroes of that type," he re- 
marked without mockery or bitterness, "and when 
Nicholson appears I have a fair idea that Stafford 
and I will have to be content with the back seats 
in Lois' affections. You see, they were great friends, 
and moreover the Carmidiaels have their matrimonial 
eye on hira. So it's now or never as far as I am con- 
cerned." 

"And Sufiford— r 

He looked down at her with a jolly laugh. 

"He must hnd consolation elsewhere. I tboagbt 
he would do for you. Miss Gary." 

"Thanks !" 

"Don't be ungrateful. Rich, good position, good 
family, worthy character, a trifle slow, not to say 
stupid — what more do you want?" 

"You talk as though — " 

" — As though he were being given away with a 
pound of tea? Well, so he is to all intents and pur- 
poses. One can do anything with an honest, pig- 
headed man like that if only one takes him the r^ht 
way. He would suit you clear down to the ground, 
and if you will help me I will help ]rou. Is that a bar- 
gain?" 

They were now in sight of their destination, and 
he pulled his horse into a walk. 

"Well, what do you say, Miss Gary?" 

He tried to look into her face, but it was turned 
resolutely away, and all he could see was a grave 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS PLAYS BRIDGE 71 

profile which might have belonged to a much older 
woman. 

"Well?" he repeated. 

They were entering the drive which led up to 
the brightly lighted bungalow before she answered. 

"It's a bargain then," she said. "I promise." 

He pressed her hand with his left. 

"That's all right," he said cheerily. "You won't 
find yourself overburdened. The case is just this: 
we're partners, you and I, with some good cards 
between us. Just at present it's my call, and your 
hand goes down. Do you understand?" 

"Pretty well," she answered. 

They pulled up at the open doorway, and flinging 
the reins to the waiting syce, Travers sprang to 
the ground. 

"By the way, I believe you go In to dinner with 
Staifford," he remarked casually as he helped her 
to al^ht. "I hope you will get on well together." 



,. DlqilizDdbyGoOgle 



CHAPTER VI 

BRCAKIHG THE BARUEK 

THE Colonel's dinner-party was Beatrice's first 
great triumph in the face of her enemies. They 
were all there and all armed to the teeth with spite 
and envy. There was, for instance, Mrs. Berry with 
her marriageable if somewhat plain daughter, and 
many more women besides to whom the beautiful 
girl was of necessity an unforgivable opponent. The 
more the men laughed at her quick and occasionally 
rather pointed observations, the more an obvious ad- 
miration shone out of their criticisms, the more deter- 
mined the hatred became. Among themselves they had 
already fulfilled Travers' prophecy and had christened 
her "the Adventuress" for no other reason than that 
she was a woman with the same ambitions as them- 
selves, but better accoutred for success. Truly, she had 
made no bid for their favor, choosing to stand alone 
and without their support ; but even had she done so it 
would have been useless. She wore an enemy's 
color in her face, and keen, pitiless eyes had already 
probed into the innermost depths of her plans and 
found them dangerous. 

In the middle of the dinner the Colonel broke 

the news that the whole of the English community 

had been invited by the Rajah to a reception in the 

palace grounds. He made the announcement with 

72 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BREAKING THE BARRIER 73 

evident reluctance, and Beatrice was conscious that 
Stafford, who sat beside her, stiffened and frowned. 
The sense of opposition and disapproval on the part 
of the man whom she had set out to conquer put 
her on her metal, and with the verve and sang- 
froid of a woman too sure of her own power to know 
fear, she related her adventure in the temple. Her 
hearers listened, according to their sex, with amuse- 
ment, curiosity and pious horror. Some were unre- 
servedly delighted, others — such as the Colonel and 
Stafford — struggled between a certain admiration 
for her and a decided disapproval of her action and 
its results. Yet Stafford at least was a soldier be- 
fore he was a conventionalist, and her bold, well- 
played comedy in the temple of Vishnu, told sjm- 
ply, but with fire and enei^, could not fail to stir 
to flame the embers of his own daring. From that 
time he ceased to rivet his attention to the other 
end of the table, where Lois was sitting, and Bea- 
trice was conscious that she had won the first move 
in the great game which she had set herself to play. 
The next day the whole Station was made aware 
of the startling change in the Rajah's attitude and 
the means by which it had been brought about, but 
no one, not even those who were disposed to judge 
the matter in its most serious light, guessed what 
passed within the palace previous to the sending 
out of the now famous invitation. For the greater 
part of the English community the whole thing was 
rather a bad joke, with the Rajah for its victim. 
That a pretty woman should have unbarred the 
gates which no other force, diplomacy or cunning 
had been able to stir was a matter for light, some- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



74 THE NATIVE BORN 

what contemptuous laughter. Rajah Nehal Singh 
was nicknamed the Impressionable Swain. He and 
Beatrice Gary were linked together either in good- 
natured chaff or malicious earnest, and curiosity, 
thanks to the dullness of the season, strained itself 
in expectation. 

Thus, beyond the marble gates the world laughed, 
and inside Life and Death had faced each other 
and for a moment hung in the balance. 

It was toward the cool of the evening. Behar Asor 
and the prince paced slowly backward and forward in 
the chief entrance hall of the palace, plunged in a con- 
versation which was to mark a final stage in their re- 
lationship toward each other. Both knew it, and on both 
faces was written the same determination — a determina- 
tion curiously tempered and moulded by the character 
of the man himself. On Behar Asor's furrowed, with- 
ered face it was resolve, armed with treachery and all 
the hundred and one weapons of oriental cunning. Ne- 
hal Singh's head was lifted in calm, unshakable confi- 
dence. He had no need of weapons. He had seen 
his destiny, and the obstacle which would be thrown 
in his path would, with equal certainty, be thrown 
out of it. He felt himself extraordinarily strong. 

His very surroundings seemed to fortify him with 
their splendor. Other parts of the palace bore the 
grievous traces of a past devastating race-hatred; 
crumbling pillars, images whose jeweled eyes had 
been made dark and lifeless by robber hands; 
broken pavements, defaced carvings — all these 
pointed to a period in human life which was gone 
for ever, a period of mad fanaticism and passionate- 
clinging to the Old in defiance of the New. Here 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BREAKING THE BARRIER 75 

the New was triumphant. Hands still living^ had 
raised the mighty golden dome ; the fountain whose 
waters hubbled up from the Sacred Tank within 
the temple was his own creation. The whole place 
became a sort of outward and visible sign of the 
New Life, New Era, which was opening out before 
him, and the old man at his side was nothing more 
than a relic, a piece of clinging wreckage. Yes- 
terday he had been a wise man whose judgment 
and guidance was a thing to be considered. 

But between Yesterday and To-day there is oc- 
casionally a long night in which much may happen. A 
life may go out, a life may come in ; a devil may 
become a saint, or a saint a devil ; a man may swing 
from one pole of opinion to another, and this last 
is perhaps the easiest of all. For it does not re- 
quire much to change a man's standpoint. A very 
little thing will make him turn on his heel and look 
at a piece of the landscape which he has hitherto 
chosen to ignore or despise, and probably acknowl- 
edge that it is finer than his hitherto obstinately 
retained outlook. A very little thing — like Colum- 
bus' egg — if one only knew just what it was! The 
little thing in Nehal Singh's life had been a woman's 
face. It shone between him and his old gods; it 
smiled at him from amidst the shadows of his imag- 
ination, beckoning him unceasingly to follow. And 
he was following — with the reckless speed of a man 
who had been kept inactive too long at the starting 
point of life. 

"I am weary of all that has hitherto been," he 
told Behar Asor. "My palace has become a prison 
from which I must free myself. The very air I 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



;6 THE NATIVE BORN 

breathe is heavy with sleep and dreams. It suffo- 
cates me. I must have life — here and without." 

"I understand thee too well," came the answer 
from compressed lips. "The curse is on thee. Thou 
wilt go among my enemies, and it is I, with my 
mistaken wisdom, who have opened thy path to 
them. It was I who taught thee their tongue, their 
knowledge, their law, that when the time came 
thou shouldst stand before them more than their 
equal. This is my punishment." 

"It is no punishment. It is the will of God." 

"The will of Godt" The oM man threw up his 
hands with a wild laugh that echoed among the pil- 
lars. "It is the will of the devil, who has been my 
curse and shall be thine I Ay, ay, look not at me I 
It is true. Thinkest thou that I have brought thee 
up in solitude without cause? Thinkest thou that 
I have hidden thee like a miser his treasure, in the 
dark, unseen places, for a whim? Son, I have suf- 
fered as I pray thou mayst not have to suffer, and 
I have within my heart a serpent of hatred whose 
sting I would thou couldst feel." He paused, biting his 
lip as though the pain he described was actual and 
physical. "Go not among the Unbelievers !" he 
continued vigorously. "Let not their shadow defile 
thee! For their breath is poison, and in their eyes 
is a deadly flame — or if thou goest, let it be with 
steeled breast and in thy right hand a sword of 
vengeance I" 

"I can not," Nehal Singh answered impatiently. 
"Nor do I believe what thou saycst. This people is 
surely brave and good. I know, for I have read — " 

"Read !" the old man interrupted, with another 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BREAKING THE BARRIER T? 

burst of stormy laughter. "What is it to read? To 
see with the eyes and feel with the body — that alone 
can bring true wisdom. And I have seen and felt ! 
Callest thou a people 'good' who drink our hospi- 
tality and spit upon us — who hail us with their 
unclean right hand and steal our htmor with their 
left?" 

Nehal Singh stopped short. 

"What meanest thou?" he demanded. 

"I have a meaning!" was the stern answer. "I 
will tell thee now what I have never told thee be- 
fore — I will tell thee of a young man who, like thy- 
self, was fearless, impetuous, a lover of the new and 
strange, who went out into the world, and welcomed 
the White People as a deliverer and friend. I will 
tell thee how he flung down caste and prejudice to 
welcome them, drank in their Thought and Cul- 
ture, trembled on the brink of their Religion. Al- 
ready the path had been broken for him. His 
mother's sister had married out of her race — an 
Englishman — I know not how it came about — and 
their child followed in her steps, I will tell thee 
how the young man came to know this cousin and 
her husband, also an Unbeliever. How often these 
two became his guests I will not tell thee. He took 
pleasure in their presence, partly for his mother's 
sake, partly because the white race had become dear 
to him. They brought others with them, and among 
them an English crfficer. Hear now further. 

"This young man had one wife, following the Eng- 
lish custom— one wife more beautiful than her sisters, 
whom he loved as a man loves but once in lite. 
In his madness, in spite of warnings of his priests. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



76 THE NATIVE BORN 

he gave her the freedom almost of an English- 
woman. Wheresoever he went she followed him ; 
with her at his right hand he received his English 
guests ; it was she who sang to them — " He ground 
his teeth in a sudden outburst of rage. "Mad, mad 
was I ! Mad to trust a woman, and to trust the 
stranger! Son, the night came when my wife sang 
no more to me, and the stranger's shadow ceased 
to darken my threshold. Three years I sought 
them — three years ; then one night she came back 
.to me. He had cast her from him. She lay dead 
at my feet." His voice shook. "In vain I sought 
justice. There is no justice for such things among 
the White People — not for themselves and not for 
us. I drew my sword and in hatred and scorn as 
deep as my love and reverence had been high, I 
slew my way to the false devil who had betrayed 
me. Him I slew — and his pale wife I — " 

"Who was this man?" Nehal Singh asked heavily. 

"I know not. His name has passed from me. But 
the hate remains. For with that act of treach- 
ery he drew back the veil from my blind eyes, and 
I saw that they were all as he — ^bad, cruel, hypo- 
crites — " 

"Not all — not all !" Nehal Singh interrupted. He 
stopped by the splashing fountain and gazed dream- 
ily into the clear waters. His own face he saw 
there — and another which was neither bad, cruel, 
nor hypocritical, but wholly beautiful. "Not all," 
he repeated. "You judge by one man. There are 
others, and it is those I will see and know, and — " 

"I would rather see thee dead at my feetl" 

"My father, I will judge them as I find them," 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BREAKING THE BARRIER 79 

Nehal Singh went on imperturbably. "If they be 
good and noble, I will serve and love them. If 
they be bad, as thou sayest — then thou shalt live to 
see me do thy will." 

He heard a shrill cry, and his eyes, still fixed on 
the water, saw a hand that swept upward, the flash 
of steel falling swiftly through the sunshine. He 
swung round and tore the dagger from the nerve- 
less hand. 

"Thou dost wrong, my father," he said, with un- 
shaken calm. "To learn treachery from treachery 
is a poor lesson. And thou canst not stay me. 
What I will do I will do. Do not cross me again." 

The old man, who had shrunk hack, gasping and 
staring, against the marble basin, pulled himself 
painfully upright. 

"Ay, I did wrong," he said, "With my old hands 
I tried to forestall the sword of Fate. For, mark 
me, the hour will come when thou wilt curse thy- 
self that thou didst stay my knife!" 

He tottered slowly away, vanishing like a curious 
twisted shadow amidst the deeper shadows of the 
columns. 

Nehal Singh watched him till he was out of sight, 
and then, snapping the dagger across his knee, flung 
the pieces into the water. They lay there, at the 
bottom of the marble basin, sparklii^ and twinkling 
in the sunshine. When he looked in, trying to con- 
jure up once more the beautiful face, it was always 
the dagger he saw. It was always the da^er he 
saw when the memory of that short, violent scene 
came back to him — and it came back often, spring- 
ing up out of his subconscious self like an evil. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



8o THE NATIVE BORN 

slinking shade that couM never be wholly brought 
to rest. Yet he went on resolutely. One barrier 
had given way — one more remained, and he flung 
himself against it with a reckless determination 
which would have overcome any resistance. But 
there was none. The old priest who had been his 
guide and teacher welcomed him as he had always 
done, seated cross-legged at the edge of the Sacred 
Tank, motionless, rigid, like some handsome bronze 
statue of Buddha, whose eyes alone spoke of a fierce 
flowing life within. He bowed his head once in re- 
turn to Nehal's greeting, but as he began to speak 
he interrupted him, and in a low, chanting voice 
uttered the last words he was ever heard to address 
to any living creature; 

"Speak not to me, Son of the Night and Day, for 
the Spirit of the Holy Yog is on me, and his tongue 
speaketh through my lips. Behold, mine eyes see 
with his into the wells of the future — my heart 
stands still for fear of the things that are to be. I 
see a Holy Temple and hear the ring of Accursed 
Footsteps. I see a young man at daybreak, beauti- 
ful, strong and upright, and I see him stand be- 
neath the high sun like a blade of withered grass. 
I see him go forth in the morning with laughter 
on his lips, and at nightfall his eyes run blood. A 
voice calleth him from the thicket, and wheresoever 
the voice calleth him he goeth. He standeth on 
the banks of Holy Gaines, and behold ! the waters 
burst from their course and pour westward to the 
ocean. Behold, then shall he draw his sword 
against his people, and from that hour he shall serve 
them and become theirs. Then shall the doors of 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BREAKING THE BARRIER 8i 

the temple be closed for ever, and the lips of 
Vishnu silent Go forth, son of the Evening and 
Morning Star! That which is to be shall be till the 
stream of the Future ceaseth to flow from the 
mouth of Heaven t" 

Nehal Singh listened to this strange, disjointed 
prophecy in perfect silence, his eyes following the 
fierce stare of the old Brahman into the oily waters 
of the Sacred Pool, Amidst the hundred reflections 
from the temple he seemed to see each separate 
picture as the monotonous voice called it up before 
his mind, and always it was his own face which 
shimmered among the shadowy minarets, and al- 
ways it was a familiar voice calling him through 
the ages which whispered to him from the trembling 
leaves of the Bo-Tree as it hung its branches down 
to the water's edge. 

"Tell me more, for thy words have drawn the 
veil closer about the future!" 

His pleading received no response. The priest 
remained motionless, passive, indifferent, seeming- 
ly plunged in an ecstatic comtemplation ; and from 
that moment his lips were closed, and he passed his 
once loved pupil with eyes that seemed fixed far 
ahead on a world visible only to himself. Neither 
in his words or manner had there been any anger 
or reproach, but a perfect resignation which walled 
him ofl^ from every human emotion, and Nehal 
Singh went his way, conscious that the world lay 
before him and that he was free. The great divid- 
ing wall had turned to air, and he had passed 
through, satisfied but not a little troubled, as a man 
is who finds that he has struck at shadows. 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



8a THE NATIVE BORN 

Afterward he told himself that the walls had al- 
ways been shadows, the links that bound him al- 
ways mere ghostly hindrances, part of the vague 
dreams that had tilled his life and bound bis hori- 
zon. Now that was all over. The more perfect 
reality lay before him and was his. The dim fig- 
ures of his childhood's imagination gave place to 
definite forms. And each bore the same face, each 
face the same grave goodness — that of the woman 
destined for him by Heaven. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER VII 

THE SECOND GEKEKATIOH 

THUS it came to pass that after more than a 
quarter of a century the gates of the palace were 
thrown open, and strange feet crossed the thresh- 
old in apparent peace and friendship. 

A crowd of memories flooded Colonel Carmi- 
chael's mind as he followed the guide along the 
narrow paths. There was a difference between his 
last entry and this — a difference and an analogy 
whose bizarre completeness came home to him 
more vividly with every moment Then, too, he 
had been led, but by a dark figure whose flaming 
torch had sprung through the darkness like an un- 
earthly spirit of destruction. Then, too, he had fol- 
lowed — not, as now, old and saddened — but im- 
petuously, and behind him had raced no crowd of 
laughing pleasure- seekers, but men whose bloody 
swords were clasped in hands greedy for the long- 
deferred vengeance. He remembered clearly what 
they had felt. For a year they had been held at 
bay by a skill and cunning which outmatched their 
most heroic efforts, and now, at last, the hour of 
victory was theirs. He remembered how the thirst 
for revenge had died down as they stormed the 
marble steps. No living being barred their course. 
Stillness greeted them as they poured into the 
83 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



84 THE NATIVE BORN 

mighty hall, and a chilly awe sank down upon their 
red-hot rage as they searched an emptiness which 
seemed to defy them. It was the Colonel himself, 
then only a young captain, who had heard the pit- 
eous wailing cry issuing from a side apartment. He 
had rushed in, and there a sight greeted him which 
engraved itself on his memory for ever. The place 
was almost in darkness, save that at the far end 
two torches had been lit on either side of what 
seemed to be a throne — a beautiful golden chair 
raised from the floor by ivory steps. Here, too, at 
first all had seemed death and silence; then the cry 
had been repeated, and they saw that a tiny child 
lay between the high carved arms and was watching 
them with great, beautiful eyes. Around his neck 
had hung a hastily-written message : 

"This is my son, Nehal Singh, whose life and 
heritage I intrust to my conquerors in the name of 
justice and mercy." 

And he had taken the boy in his arms and borne 
him thence as tenderly as if he had been his own. 

Since then twenty-five years had passed. The 
throne had been given to the tiny heir under the 
tutelage of a neighboring prince, and the spirit of 
forgotten things brooded over the wreck of the tem- 
pest that for over a year had raged about Marut. 
But the Colonel remembered as if it had been but 
yesterday. Others had forgotten the little child, 
but, perhaps because he had no children of his own, 
the memory of the dark baby eyes had never been 
banished from his mind. He caught himself won- 
dering, not without a touch of emotion, what sort 
of man had grown out of the minute being he had 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE SECOND GENERATION 85 

rescued; but curiously enough — and typically 
enough of the contrariness of human sympathy — 
from the moment he caught sight of the tall figure 
advancing to meet him from the steps of the pal- 
ace, all kindly, gentle feelings died out of him, and 
his old prejudice of race awoke. Possibly — nay, 
certainly — the child had had less need of sympathy 
than the man, but the Colonel's heart froze toward 
him, and his formal response to his host's greeting 
was icy with the unconquerable consciousness of 
the gulf between them. 

Yet, for eyes unblinded by preconceived aver- 
sion, Nehal Singh was at that moment good to look 
upon. He was simply dressed in white, with no 
jewels save for a great diamond in his turban, and 
this very simplicity threw into strong relief his un- 
usually well-built figure and the features to whose 
almost classical perfection was added a strength, a 
force of intellect which classical beauty is too often 
denied. Quietly and modestly, conscious of his 
own worth, ignorant and inexperienced of the world, 
he was utterly unaware of the stone barrier that 
his guests presented to his own open-hearted wel- 
come. For him the whole of his past life concen- 
trated itself on this moment when the gates of the 
Universe rolled back, and he advanced to meet the 
representatives of its Greatest People. He thought, 
in the simple, natural egoism of a man who has 
liyed a life cut o£f from others, that they would 
understand this and feel with him. 

What his own feelings were he hardly knew — 
perhaps among them, though unrecognised, was 
the faintest chill of disappointment. He had had 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



86 THE NATIVE BORN 

no definite expectations, but his imagination had 
unconsciously been at work, and touched with its 
illuminating fire the sons of the heroes whose deeds 
had filled his quiet existence with romance, paint- 
ing his picture of them with colors which the 
reality did not justify. Certainly the little Colonel 
had nothing either romantic or heroic in his ap- 
pearance, and what was good and kindly in his 
bronzed face was hidden behind the mask of his 
racial pride. 

His first words were delivered tn a harsh voice, 
which betrayed only too clearly his real feelings, 
though Nehal Singh recognized nothing but its dis- 
agreeableness. 

"Rajah Sahib, you have honored us with the wish 
to become acquainted with the English people dwell- 
ing in your State," he began, "and it is therefore my 
pleasure and duty to present to you the officers of the 
regiments — " He stumbled awkwardly, the strange- 
ness of the situation, the direct and searching gaze of 
his host, throwing him completely out of whatever 
oratory powers he possessed. It was Nehal Sing^ him- 
self who saved the situation, 

"It is my pleasure to receive you," he said, in 
his slow, painstaking English, "and I am honored 
by the readiness with which you have complied 
with my desire to meet the Great People to whom 
my land owes so much. Though hitherto I have 
lived apart from them, I am not wholly ignorant 
of their greatness. I know, for my fathers and my 
books have shown me, that there is no other nation 
so powerful nor whose sons are so noble. Therefore 
I welcome you with all my heart as a brother, and if 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE SECOND GENERATION 87 

such entertainment as I have tried to prepare for your 
pleasure is not to your taste, I pray you to forgive 
me, for therein am I indeed ignorant." 

For a few among the English party his words, 
spoken slowly and with a simple sincerity, were 
not without their charm. Yet, little as he knew it, 
he had succeeded in one short speech in touching 
two dangerous spots in his relationship to his 
guests — his ancestry and his equality. But here 
again his ignorance veiled from him what was writ- 
ten clearly enough on a dozen frozen faces. 

"I should be glad to be made personally ac- 
quainted with each of your officers," he went on. 
"For men who serve under one flag should know 
each other well." 

Colonel Carmichael obeyed, thankful for any oc- 
cupation which saved him the necessity of replying ; 
and one by one the solemn, unmoved faces came 
under Mehal Singh's eager gaze, bowed, and passed 
on. Each resented in turn the intense scrutiny of 
their host, and none guessed its cause. For them 
it was the insolent stare of a colored man who had ven- 
tured to place himself on an equality with themselves. 
They could not have known that he was seeking fa- 
miliar features, nor that, as one after another passed on, 
a cold chill of disappointment was settling on a heart 
warm with preconceived admiration and respect. They 
could not have known that his unconscious presumption 
had hidden a real desire to find among them the hero 
to whom his man's worship of courage and greatness 
could have been dedicated. He was too young — 
and especially too young in worldly wisdom — to 
realize that the outside man is not of necessity the 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



88 THE NATIVE BORN 

man himself. He merely felt, as each wooden face 
confronted his own, that here was aurely no Great 
Man, no Hero, Only when it came to the civilians 
his eyes rested with some degree of satisfaction on 
Travers' well-knit figure and fresh-colored face. For 
the first time during the whole proceedings the prince 
smiled, and in turn received a smile. 

The ladies had by this time arrived, and the 
presentations continued. There was no change in 
Nchal Singh's demeanor when he stood before Beatrice 
Ciry — no change, at least, visible to the curious eyes 
that watched. If there was any hidden meaning in 
his expression during the brief instant that they looked 
at each other, only she herself could have read it ; and 
this she apparently did not do, for her face retained its 
Madonna peace and dignity. 

"I think Rajah Sahib and Miss Gary have already 
met?" remarked Travers, who was acting as master 
of the ceremonies. 

"Yes, we have met," Nehal Singh answered, and 
passed on. 

If any hesitation showed itself in his manner, it 
was before Lois Caruthers, A swift shade of puz- 
zled surprise clouded his features. 

"You have been a long time in India?" he asked, 
after the first words of introduction. The question 
sounded as though he merely sought her affirma- 
tion to something he already knew. 

"Almost all my life, Rajah Sahib," she answered. 
Possibly it was a natural shyness which made her 
voice sound troubled and nervous. She seemed 
to heave a sigh of relief when he once more moved 
on. Yet he had impressed her agreeably. 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE SECOND GENERATION 89 

"Is he not handsome?" she said in an undertone 
to her companion, Stafford. "I think he is quite 
the handsomest man I have seen, and he has the 
manners of an Englishman. I wonder where he 
got them from," 

"I don't know," Stafford returned. "These people 
have a wonderful trick of picking up things. At 
any rate he realizes Miss Gary's curious description — 
beautiful ; though, with Miss Berry, I do not care for 
the word as applied to a man. He seems a nice sort 
of fellow, too, quiet and unaffected, and that is more 
to me than his good looks. It's rather a pity." 

"What is a pity?" she asked, surprised. 

"Oh, well, that he is what he is. Don't look so 
pained. It's not only my 'narrow-hearted preju- 
dice,' as you call it. It's more than that. I'm sorry 
for the man himself. It alt confirms my first opinion 
that it is rather bad luck." 

"Why?" she demanded obstinately. 

"Don't you understand? If you had seen Webb's 
face when he talked about 'as a brother a brother,' 
you would have understood well enough. He has 
been made a fool of, and sooner or later he will 
have his eyes roughly opened. As I say, it seems 
bad luck." 

"You mean he would have done better to keep' 
to his old seclusion?" she said thoughtfully. 

"That's about it." He smiled down at her, and 
they suddenly forgot the Rajah in that curious hap- 
piness of two beings who need no words to tell 
them that each is understood by the other, and 
that a secret current of thought and feeling flows 
beneath every word and touch. "Come," he went 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



90 THE NATIVE BORN 

on. "It seems that we are to have the run of the 
place. Shall we explore?" 

She nodded a quick agreement, and they started 
off, thus following the example of others of the 
party who had already made use of the Rajah's 
suggestion that they should visit the chief and 
most interesting portions of the palace. Nehal 
Singh himself stood alone, and thankful for his 
loneliness. For the last ten minutes Colonel Car- 
michael and he had stood side by side, and found 
no word to say to each other. The past, which 
might have been a link, proved itself a barrier which 
neither could scale, and presently, on some excuse, 
the Colonel had hurried off to join his wife. As 
though guided by a sure instinct, Nehal Singh 
turned in the direction where Beatrice was stand- 
ing with her mother and Travers. Without hesi- 
tation he went up to her. 

"I have waited to be your guide," he said. His 
words sounded amusingly decided and matter-of- 
course, and a smile of not very sympathetic mean- 
ing passed over the faces of those within earshot. 

"You can be sure she went a lot further than she 
cared to say," Mrs. Berry whispered to her daugh- 
ter. "You can see how everything was made up 
beforehand. I wonder what she expects to get out 
of him?" 

Though the remark did not reach her, Beatrice's 
instinct and bitter experience supplied her with a 
sure key to the look that was exchanged between 
the two women. She smiled gaily. 

"I shall be only too pleased," she said. "What 
I have seen has made me thirst for more." 



3,q,l,'zDdbyG00gIe 



THE SECOND GENERATION 91 

"Indeed, Your Highness," Mrs. Cary broke in 
eagerly. "I must not forget to thank you for the 
really very kind assistance you lent my reckless 
daughter the other day. I do not know what would 
have happened to her if it had not been for you !" 

Nehal Singh looked at her with a grave wonder. 

"You are her mother — ?" he said, and then 
stopped short. The wonder was reflected so clearly 
in his tone that an angry flush mounted to Mrs. 
Gary's fat cheeks. 

"I have that honor. Your Highness," she said acidly. 

"Mrs. Cary t" Travers called from the flower-bed 
over which he was leaning. "If the Rajah Sahib 
can spare you, do come and look at these flowers. They 
are extraordinary." 

With her head in the air, her plumes waving, a 
picture of ruffled dignity, Mrs. Cary swayed her 
way in the direction indicated, and Nehal Singh 
and Beatrice found themselves alone. 

"Will you come with me now?" he asked. "I 
have still so much to show you." 

She saw the look of self-satisfied "I-told-you-so" 
horror written on the faces of Mrs. Berry and her 
friends, who stood a little farther off whispering 
and nodding, and if she had felt the slightest hesi- 
tation, she hesitated no longer. 

"Lead the way. Rajah Sahib," she said coolly, "I 
follow." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE niBAL 

ON either side of them tall palm-trees raised 
their splendid heads high above the shrubs and 
sweet-smelling plants that clustered like a protect- 
ing wall about their feet, and as Beatrice and her 
companion passed a sharp bend it seemed as though 
they had been suddenly cut off from the chattering 
crowd behind them and had entered into a wonder- 
ful, silent world in which they were alone. 

Was it the beauty of her surroundings, or was 
it the man beside her, which sent the curious, al- 
most painful emotion through her angry heart? For 
she was angry — angry with her mother, with herself 
and him — chiefly with him. He had been too sure. 
And yet she was flattered. Also, it was a pleasure for 
the first time to be with some one with whom she could 
drop her weapons and have no fear. She lotAed up at 
him, and found that he was watching her. 

"It was not good-by for ever," he said. "We have 
met again." 

Her anger suddenly subsided. His slow English, 
with its foreign accent, his dark features and native 
dress reminded her vividly that he was of another 
(implied, inferior) race, and therefore not to be 
judged by ordinary standards. She gave herself 
up to the pleasure of the moment. 
92 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE IDEAL 93 

"You have overthrown destiny," she said, smiling. 
"You have made the impossible possible. How was 
I to know all that when I prophesied we should 
not meet again?" 

"I have not overthrown destiny," he answered. 
"I have fulfilled it." 

"Are you sure of that?" 

"Quite sure." 

She looked away from him up to the golden dome 
of the temple which rose before them against the 
unclouded sky. Because she had thrown down her 
weapons, and in the irresponsible pleasure of the 
moment become herself, she acquired a power of 
penetration and understanding which is denied to 
those who with their own hearts closed seek to 
know the hearts of others. 

"Do you know," she said suddenly, "when Colonel 
Carmichael presented himself to you, and all the 
others, I watched you, and I rather fancy I read 
something on your face which you didn't want to 
show. I wonder if I am right." 

"It is possible," he answered gravely. "In this 
last hour I have already begun to regret that I have 
never studied to control my emotions. I show when 
I am surprised, disappointed, or — startled. Hither- 
to, there has been no reason why I should not do 
so. But now that I am among my equals, it is differ- 
ent" 

She bit her lip, not in anger but in an almost 
pained surprise at this man's ignorance of the world 
into which he was entering. He was not presum- 
ing to place himself on the level with the English- 
man ; it seemed as if he were inoffensively lifting 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



94 THE NATIVE BORN 

the Englishman up to himself. She was sorry for 
him as one is sorry for all kindly fools. 

"Tell me what you read!" he be^ed, after a 
moment. "Perhaps you will know better than I 
myself. I am almost sure you will." 

"I read disappointment," she answered. "Was 
that so?" 

His brows contracted slightly. 

"I was disappointed," he admitted, "but tliat was 
my own fault. I had never met English people — 
only heard of them. What I had heard made me 
imagine things which it seems have no reality." 

"Did you expect demigods ?" she asked. 

"I do not know what I expected — but it was 
something different. You know the men I have 
met to-day. Are they all great-hearted and brave ?" 

She did not laugh at the question, though there 
was cause enough to have excused it. 

"I can not tell you," she answered, "Only cir- 
cumstances can bring such virtues to light, and 
hitherto the circumstances have been lacking. All 
men do not wear their heart on their sleeve," she 
answered, not without malice. 

He nodded. 

"I am glad to hear you say that, for no doubt you 
are right. I am very ignorant, I fear, and was 
foolish enough to expect heroes to have the face 
and figure of heroes. It grieved me for a moment 
to find that I was the tallest and best-looking 
among them. Now that you have explained, I see that 
the greatness lies beneath." 

This time she laughed, and laughed so heartily 
that he joined in with her, though he did not know 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE IDEAL 95 

what had caused her amusement. He took pleasure 
in watching her when she laughed. Her statuesque 
beauty yielded then to a warm, pulsating life, which 
transformed her and made her seem to him more 
human, more attainable. For he had never shaken 
off the belief that she and a divine agency were closely 
linked together. 

"You must not compare yourself with English- 
men," she said, when she had recovered, "neither 
in face, nor stature, nor ideals. You must always 
remember that we are of another race." 

"And yet you fulfilled my highest ideal." 

"Perhaps I am the exception," she retorted, dan- 
gerously near another outburst. "Did all the 
women this afternoon fulfil your ideal ?" 

"Not" very decidedly. 

"There ! You see, then, that I am the exception. 
Besides, I am not a man. Men require to be differ- 
ently judged, and we have perhaps other ideals." 

"That also is possible," he assented, "and I know 
that, because the English are such a great people, 
their ideals must be very high, perhaps higher than 
mine. Since I am now to go among them, I wish to 
know what they consider necessary in the character 
of a great man." 

"That is too hard a question," she said hurriedly. 
"I can not describe the national ideal to you, be- 
cause I am too ignorant and have never thought 
about it. You must ask some one else." 

They had come to the end of the path and stood 
before a square opening, on the other side of which 
the two massive gorpuras of the temple rose in 
their monumental splendor two hundred feet above 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



96 THE NATIVE BORN 

them. They were still alone. None of the sight- 
seers seemed to have found the sacred spot, and for 
a moment she stood still, awed in spite of herself. 

"I should be quite content with your ideal," he 
said gently, breaking in upon her admiration. "I 
feel that it will be the highest." 

"You ask of me more than I can answer." 

"I beg of you!" he pleaded earnestly. "I hav* 
my reasons." 

Again she bit her lip. It was too absurd, too 
ridiculous I That she, of all people, who had seen 
into the darkest, most sordid depths of the human 
character, and long since learned to look upon good- 
ness and virtue as exploded myths, should be set 
to work to draw up an ideal which she did not and 
could not believe in, seemed a mockery too pitiful 
for laughter. Yet something — perhaps it was a 
form of national pride — stung her to the task, more- 
over stung her to do her best and place beyond the 
reach of these dark hands a high and splendid fig- 
ure of English ideals. 

To help herself, she sought through the lumber- 
rooms of her memory, and drew thence a hundred 
ideas, thoughts and conceptions which had be- 
longed to a short — terribly short — childhood. Like 
a middle-aged woman who comes suddenly upon 
a hoard of long since forgotten toys, and feels an 
emotion half pitying, half regretful, so Beatrice 
Cary displayed to her companion things that for 
years had lain forsaken and neglected tn the back- 
ground of her mind. The dust lay thick upon them 
— and yet they were well enough. They would 
have been beautiful, had she believed in them, but, 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE IDEAL 97 

like the toys, they had lost the glamour and it- 
lusionary light in which her youth aud imagination 
had bathed them. 

"Our highest ideal of a man we call a gentleman," 
she said slowly. "It is a much-abused term, but it 
can mean a very great deal. What his appearance 
is does not so much matter — indeed, when one looks 
into it, it does not matter at all, save that you will 
find that the ugliest face can often give you an 
index to a lovely character. The chief thing that 
we require of him is that he should be above all 
meanness and pettiness. He must be great-think- 
ing and great-feeling for himself and others, es- 
pecially for others. You will find that a good man 
is always thinking or working for those others 
whose names he may not even know. Whatever 
power or talent he has — ^however little it may be — 
he concentrates on some object which may help 
them. It is the same with his virtues. He culti- 
vates them because he knows that there is not a 
high thought, or generous impulse, or noble deed 
which does not help to lift the standard of the whole 
world." 

"Of what virtues are you speaking?" Nehal Singh 
interposed. 

"Oh, the usual things," she returned, with a note 
of cynicism breaking through her sham enthusi- 
asm. "Honesty, purity, generosity, loyalty — es- 
pecially loyalty. I do not think a man who is true 
to himself, to his word, to his friend, and to his 
coimtry can ever fall far below the ideal." She took a 
deep breath. "It is a very poor description that I have 
given you. I hope you have understood ?" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



98 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Yes, I have understood," he answered. "And 
this man — this gentleman — can be of all nations?" 

So deeply ingrained is national prejudice, even in 
those who profess to regard the whole world with 
an equally contemptuous eye, that for an instant 
she hesitated. 

"Of course," she said then. "Nationality makes 
no difference," 

They crossed over the broad square, through the 
gopura, into the inner temple. Nehal Singh, who 
had sunk into a deep meditation, roused himself 
and called to her notice many curious and beauti- 
ful things which she would otherwise have passed 
by without interest. Whether it was his loving de- 
scription, or whether it was because she was calmer, 
she could not say, but the place impressed her with 
its stately magnificence as it had not done before. 

"The ages seem to hang like ghosts in the atmos- 
phere," she told her companion, in a hushed under- 
tone. 

He assented, and the dreamer's look which had 
haunted his eyes for twenty-five years crept back 
into its place. 

"Who knows what unseen world surrounds us?" 
he said quietly. 

They had already left the first court behind them 
and passed the Sacred Pool, a placid, untroubled 
mirror for the overhanging trees and towering min- 
arets. There they had paused a moment, watching 
their own reflections which the warm evening sun- 
shine cast on to the smooth surface. Then they 
had moved on, and now stood before the entrance 
of the Holy of Holies. Beatrice drew back with a 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE IDEAL 99 

gesture of alann. A tall, white-clad figure had 
suddenly stepped out of the shadowy portal and 
stood erect and threatening, one hand raised as 
though to forbid their entrance. Long afterward, 
Beatrice remembered the withered face, and always 
with a shudder of unreasonable terror. 

"Do not be afraid," Nehal Singh said. "He de- 
fends the entrance against strangers. He will let 
you pass." 

He went up to the old priest and spoke a few 
words in Hindustani, which Beatrice did not under- 
stand. Immediately the Brahman stood aside, and 
though his stern, piercing gaze never left her face, 
she felt that by some means or other his animosity 
had been disarmed. 

"What did you say to him?" she asked. 

Nehal Singh shook his head. 

"One day I will tell you," he answered ; and some 
instinct made her hesitate to press the question 
further. 

Thus they stood once more before the great gold- 
en statue, this time side by side. The sanctuary 
was built in the shape of a half-circle, the high, 
vaulted roof supported by slender pillars of carved 
black marble. There was no other attempt at orna- 
mentation. The three-headed figure of the god 
reigned in the center from a massive altar in soli- 
tary splendor, and from a small opening overhead 
a frail ray of evening light mingled its pale yellow 
with the brilliant crimson flame of the Sacred Lamp 
which burnt before the idol, casting an almost un- 
earthly reflection about the passionless chiseled fea- 
tures. In spite of herself, Beatrice felt that the 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



loo THE NATIVE BORN 

place was charmed, and that the charm was draw- 
ing into its ban her very thoughts and emotions. 
She felt subdued, quieted. It was as she had said — 
the ages seemed to hover like ghosts about them, 
and her hard, worldly skepticism could make no 
stand against the hush and mystery of the past. 
Here generation after generation, amidst danger, 
battle and death, men had bowed down and poured 
out their hottest, most fervent prayers, and their 
sincerity and faith had sanctified the ground for 
Christian, Brahman and skeptic alike. 

Beatrice looked at the man beside her. She had 
the feeling that, while she had stood and wondered, 
he had been praying; and possibly she was right, 
though he returned her glance immediately. 

"This is a holy place," he said. "It is holiest of 
all for me. Here I have spent my most solemn 
happy hours ; here God spoke direct to me and an- 
swered me." 

It seemed quite natural that he should speak 
thus so openly and directly to her of his nearest 
concerns. The barrier which separated them per- 
haps, after all, made the intercourse between them 
easier and less constrained than it would otherwise 
have been. They had no responsibility toward each 
other. They lived in different worlds, and if for a 
moment they exchanged messages, it was only for a 
moment. When it was over, the dividing sea would 
once more roll between them, leaving no trace of their 
brief intercourse. 

Remembering alt this, she threw off the momen- 
tary sense of trouble. 

'Tell me how and when that was," she said. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE IDEAL loi 

"I can not tell you — not now. One day I will. 
One day I shall have a great deal to tell you, and 
you will have a great deal to tell me. You will tell 
me of your faith. I know nothing of your God. 
All that has been kept secret from me." 

"How do you know I have a God?" she demanded 
sharply. 

They had passed out of the sanctuary and were 
walking back toward the entrance. He half stopped 
and looked at her in grave surprise. 

"How do I know? How, rather, is it possible that 
it should be otherwise? You are too good and 
beautiful not to have learnt at the feet of a great 
teacher." 

His naivete and confidence set her once more in a 
state between indulgent amusement and anger. An- 
other man she would have laughed at straight in the 
face, but this simple belief in her goodness threw her 
out of her usual stride, and in the end she left him 
without answer, save that which he chose to interpret 
from her silence. 

As they reached the great doorway through the 
gopura, a tall figure advanced to meet them which 
Beatrice at once recognized in spite of the gathering 
twilight. She had been expecting this new-comer for 
some time, yet his appearance disturbed her as some- 
thing undesirable. 

"There is a man I like," Nehal Singh remarked, 
with a sudden pleasure. "Is not Travers his name? 
He disappointed me least of all." 

"You have an excellent judgment," Beatrice re- 
turned. 

If there was an undercurrent of sarcasm in her 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



102 THE NATIVE BORN, 

approval, Nehal Singh did not notice it He ad- 
vanced quickly to meet Travers. 

"I am glad you have found your way here," he 
said. "It is the most beautiful part of all, and per- 
haps I should have acted as guide to my other 
guests. But my first duty was here." He turned 
to Beatrice with a grave inclination. 

Travers laughed. 

"You need be in no alarm. Rajah Sahib," he said. 
"We have been enjoying ourselves immensely, and 
no wonder, considering all the glories that have 
been laid open to us. I have seen much wealth 
and splendor in India, but not as here. I feel over- 
whelmed," 

"There is still much for you to see," Nehal Singh 
answered with a proud pleasure. 

Other members of the party had by this time 
joined them, and Beatrice dropped back to her 
mother's side. The whole thing had been, as Mrs. 
Berry said, arranged, but not in the way the good 
lady supposed, and Beatrice's task was at an end. 

Travers hastened his step imperceptibly, so that 
the distance between him and the rest was increased 
beyond hearing distance. 

"Of course," he began, with a frank confidence 
which fell pleasingly on his companion's ears, "I 
am a business man, and a great deal of my admira- 
tion is from a business standpoint. You will per- 
haps hardly understand me when I say that my 
flesh simply creeps when I think of all the wealth that 
lies here inactive. Wealth is power, Rajah Sahib, and 
in your hand there lies a power for good or evil which 
dazzles the senses of a less forttinate man." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE IDEAL 103 

Nehal Singh lifted his face thoughtfully toward the 
evening sky. 

"Power for good or evil I" he echoed. "It may be 
that you are right. But power is a great clumsy 
giant, who can accomplish nothing without the ex- 
perienced guiding brain." 

"I imagine you have both, Rajah Sahib." 

"Not the experience. I have led a life apart. I 
fee! myself helpless before the very thought of any 
effort in the world. Yet I should be glad to ac- 
complish something — ^to help even a little in the gen- 
eral progress." 

"You will learn easily enough," Travers broke 
in, with enthusiasm. "It is only necessary to go 
outside your gates to tind a hundred outlets for 
energy and purpose. If you traveled two days among 
your people, you would come back knowing very well 
what awaited your power to accomplish." 

"I am glad to hear you say so," Nehal returned, 
smiling, "for I am ambitious." 

"Ambition and power!" exclaimed Travers. "You 
are indeed to be envied. Rajah Sahib 1" 

"What would you do in my place?" Nehal asked, 
after a moment, in a lighter tone, which concealed 
a real and eager curiosity. 

Travers shook his head, 

"The greater the power the greater the responsi- 
bility," he answered. "I couldn't say on the spur 
of the moment. If I were given time, no doubt I 
should be able to tell you." 

"I give you till our next meeting, then," Nehal 
said gravely. 

"Our next meeting? I trust, then, Rajah Sahib, 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



I04 THE NATIVE-BORN 

that you will condescend to be the guest of the 
English Station?" 

Nehal turned his head to hide the flash of boyish 
satisfaction which shone out of his eyes. It was 
that he wanted — to go among this people, from their 
own hearth to judge them, and to probe down into the 
source of their greatness. 

"It would give me much pleasure," he answered 
quietly. 

It was Travers" turn to hide the triumph which 
the willing acceptance aroused. Nevertheless, his 
next words were whimsically regretful. 

"Unfortunately, we have no place in which to 
offer you a fitting welcome, Rajah Sahib," he said. 
"For a long time it has been the ambition of the 
Station to build some place wherein all such fes- 
tivities could be properly celebrated. But alas I"— 
he shrugged his shoulders — "it is the fate of the 
Anglo-Indian to work for the richness and great- 
ness of his country and himself remain miserably 
poor." 

"How much money would be required?" Nehal 
Singh asked. 

"You will no doubt be amused at the smallness 
of the sum — a mere four thousand rupees — but it 
is just so much we have not got." 
. Nehal Singh smiled. 

"Let me at once begin to make use of my power," 
he said graciously. "It would be a pleasure to me 
to mark my first meeting with you by the gift of 
the building you require. I place the matter in 
your hands. Sahib Travers. For the time being. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE IDEAL 105 

until I have ^ined my own experience, yours must 
be the guiding brain." 

The good-looking Englishman appeared to be 
considerably taken aback — almost distressed, 

"You are too generous. Rajah Sahib!" he pro- 
tested. To himself he commented on the rapidity 
with which this fellow had picked up the lingo of 
polite society. 

All further conversation was cut short by a 
cry of admiration from the crowd behind them. 
They had reached the chief entrance to the palace, 
and suddenly, as though at 3 given signal, every 
outline of the building became marked out by count- 
less points of light which sparkled starlike against 
the darkening sky. At the same instant, the temple 
to their left took form in a hundred colors, and a 
burst of weird music broke on the ears of the won- 
dering spectators. It was a strange and beautiful 
scene, such as few of them had ever seen. Fairy 
palaces of fire seemed to hover miraculously in the 
evening air, and over everything hung the curious, 
indefinable charm of the mysterious East. 

Nehal Singh turned and found Lois Caruthers 
standing with Stafford a little behind him. Both 
their names were forgotten, but the dark eager 
face of the girl attracted him and at the same time 
puzzled him as something which struck a hitherto 
unsuspected chord in his innermost self. 

"You find it well ?" he asked her. 

"It is most beautiful," she answered. "It is good of 
you, Rajah Sahib, to give us so much pleasure." 

That was all she said, but among all his mem- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



io6 THE NATIVE BORN. 

ories of that evening she remained prominent, be- 
cause she had spoken sincerely, warmly, enthusi- 
astically. Others thanked him — the Colonel's little 
speech at the end was a piece of studied rhetoric, 
but it left him cold where her thanks had left him 
warm, almost gratefully so. 

On the whole, the first meeting between the Eng- 
lish residents of Marut and the young native prince 
was classified as a success. As they drove through 
the darkness, the returning guests called terse crit- 
icisms to one another which tended to the conclusion 
that the whole thing had not been at all bad, and 
that for the circumstances the Rajah was a remark- 
ably well-mannered individual. 

Beatrice Cary took no part in the light-hearted 
exchange. Her mother had gone off with Mrs. 
Carmichael in her carriage, and Travers having of- 
fered to drive her home, she had accepted, and now 
sat by his side, thoughtful, almost depressed, 
though she did not own it, even to herself. 

Try as she would she could not throw off the 
constantly recurring memory of her parting with 
Nehal Singh. She made fun of it and of herself, 
and yet she could not laugh over it — her power of 
irresponsible enjoyment had been taken suddenly 
from her. 

"You will not now say that we shall never meet 
again," he had said, pressing something into her 
hand. "Now you will never forget," he had added. 
"It is a talisman of remembrance." 

What he had given her she did not know. It 
lay tightly clutched in the palm of her hand — some- 
thing hard and cold which she dared not look at, 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



THE IDEAL 107 

She had not even been able to remonstrate or thank 
him. She had been spellbound, hypnotized. 

"It really has been splendid !" she heard Travers 
say in her ear, "Things went just like clockwork. 
Five minutes' conversation got the whole club- 
house out of him, and what you managed in your 
quarter of an hour, goodness knows. You are a clever 
woman and no mistake I" 

"Please — don't !" she burst out irritably. 

"Hullo! What's the matter? What are you so 
cross about?" 

"I'm not cross — only tired, tired, tired and sick 
of it all. Do drive on I" 

Far behind them a solitary figure stood on the 
broad steps of the palace, amidst the dying splen- 
dors of the evening and gazed in the direction which 
the merry procession had taken. A long time it had 
stood there, motionless, passive, the fine husk of the 
soul which had wandered out into a new world of hope 
and possibilities following the woman whose hand had 
fiung the gates wide for him to enter in. 

Another figure crept out of the shadows and drew 
near. Twisted and bent, it stood beside the bold, up- 
right form and lifted its face, hate-filled, to the pale 
light of the stars. 

"Nehal Singh, Nehal Singh^oh, ray sonl" 

The prince turned coldly. 

"Is it thou? Hast thou a da^er in thy hand?" 

"I have no daf^er — would to God I had I Nebal 
Singh, I have seen mine enemy's face," 

"How meanest thou ? Thy enemy is dead," 

"Nevertheless, his face is among the living. As 
a servant, I crept among the strangers, and saw him 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



io8 THE NATIVE BORN 

straight in the eyes. He has grown younger, but it is 
he. It is the body of the son, but the soul of his father 
in his eyes — and, father or son, their blood is poison 
to me," 

Nehal Singh knit his brows. 

"Knowest thou his name?" 

"Ay, now I know his name. It came back to me 
when I saw his face. Stafford he was called — 
Stafford!" He crept closer, his thin hand fell like 
a vise on Nehal's arm. "Kill himt" he whispered. 
"Kill him — the son of thy father's betrayer I" 

Nehal Singh shook himself free. 

"I can not," he answered proudly, and a warm thrill 
of enthusiasm rang in his voice. "I can not. They are 
all my brothers. I can not take my brother's blood." 

With a moan of anger the twisted figure crept 
back into the shadow, and once more Nehal Singh 
stood alone. 

Unconsciously he bad accepted and proclaimed 
Beatrice Gary's ideal as his own. The hour of 
bloodshed was gone, mercy and justice called him 
in its stead. And in that acceptance of a new era 
his gaze pierced through the obscurity into a light 
beyond. The jungle which had bound his life was 
gone ; all hindrances, all gulfs of hatred and revenge, 
were overthrown and bridged. The world of the 
Great People stood open to him, and to them he 
held out the casteless hand of love and fellowship. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER DC 



LOIS and Stafford had arrived at that stage oE 
friendship when conversation becomes unnecessary. 
They walked side by side through the Colonel's 
carefully tended garden and were scarcely con- 
scious that they had dropped into a thoughtful si- 
lence. Yet, as though in obedience to some un- 
spoken agreement, their footsteps found their way 
to the ruined bungalow and there paused. 

As a look can be more powerfully descriptive 
than a word, so these shot-riddled walls had their own 
eloquence. Each shot-hole, each jagged splinter 
and torn hinge had its own history and added its 
pathetic detail to the whole picture of that disas- 
trous night when the vengeance of Behar Singh 
had burst like a hurricane over the defenseless land. 

After a moment's hesitation Stafford stepped for- 
ward and, pushing aside the heavy festoons of 
creeper which barred the doorway, passed through 
into the gloomy interior. 

"I should like to see the place from the inside," 
he explained to Lois, who, with an uncontrollable 
shudder, had followed him. "One can imagine bet- 
ter then how it all happened." 

"I think of it all — often," she answered in a 
hushed voice, "and every time I seem to see things 
differently. My poor mother!" 
109 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



no THE NATIVE BORN 

"You never knew her?" he asked. 

"No, I was too young — scarcely more than a 
year old. Yet her loss seems to have overshadowed 
my whole life." 

"Was she like you?" 

"Yes, I believe so. She was dark — ^not so dark as 
I am — but she was stately and beautiful. So she 
has always been described to me, and so I always 
seem to see her." 

Stafford turned and looked about him. 

"It must be almost as it was then," he said won- 
deringly, pointing to the rusty truckle-bed in the 
comer. "And there is the broken over-turned 
chair 1 It might have been yesterday," 

She nodded. 

"So my guardian found it," she said. "It had 
been my father's bungalow and he never allowed 
it to be touched. When I came of age I gave it to 
him. It seemed to belong to him, somehow. They 
say that it nearly broke his heart when he found 
that he had come too late to save my father. My 
father was his dearest, almost his only friend." 

"Were they killed at once?" Stafford asked with 
hesitating curiosity. "I have never known the 
rights of the case. It has always been a painful 
subject for me — with you I don't mind." 

It was the faintest allusion to a bond between 
them which both silently recognized, and Lois turned 
away to hide the signal of happiness which had risen 
to her dieeks. 

"No one knows," she answered, "The bodies 
were never found. It was part of Behar Singh's 
cruelty to hide the real fate of his victims. For a 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHECKED 111 

long time people used to hope and hope that Jo 
some dungeon or prison they would find their 
friends, but they never did. One can only pray 
that the end was a mercifully quick one." 

"And Behar Singh died in the jungle?" 

"So the natives said. No one really knows," she 
replied. 

"I wish he hadn't," Stafford said, his good-na- 
tured face darkening. "It seems unfair that he 
should have caused our people to suffer so much 
and we have never had the chance to pay back. 
Whatever made the Government give his son the 
power, goodness only knows," 

"The present Rajah was a baby then," she said 
in a tone of gentle remonstrance. "It would have 
been hard to have punished him for the sins of 
his father." 

Nothing appeals to a man more than a woman's 
undiplomatic tenderness for the whole world. Staf- 
ford looked down at Lois with a smile. 

"You dear, good-hearted little girll" he said. 
"And yet, blood is blood, you know. Somehow, one 
can't get over it. In spite of his good looks, it al- 
ways seems to me as though I could see his father's 
treachery in Nehal Singh's eyes. It made me sick 
to think that I was enjoying his hospitality — it 
makes me feel worse that we have to accept the 
club-house at his hands, Travers behaved pretty 
badly, according to my ideas." 

"It was mostly Miss Cary's doing," Lois ob- 
jected. She liked Travers, and was inclined to 
take up the cudgels on his behalf. 

Stafford's eyes twinkled. On bis side he had the 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



iia THE NATIVE BORN 

rooted and not unfounded masculine notion that all 
women are jealous of one another. 

"Miss Cary is young and inexperienced and prob- 
ably did not realize what she was doing," he retorted. 
"From what she told me, she takes the whole matter 
as a big joke, and now that the fat is in the fire it's no 
use enlightening her." 

Lois made no immediate answer, though she may 
have had her doubts on the subject of Beatrice 
Gary's inexperience. 

"The poor Rajah!" she said, after a pause, as 
Stafford walked curiously about the room. "I 
could not help being sorry for him. He seemed so 
eager and enthusiastic and anxious to please us, 
and we were so cold and ungrateful. Tel! me, does 
it really make so much difference?" 

He came back to her side. Something in her 
voice had touched him and stirred to life a warmth 
of feeling which was more than that of friendship. 

"What makes so much difference?" he asked, smil- 
ing down at her small troubled face. "What are 
you worrying yourself about now?" 

"Oh, it has always troubled me," she answered 
with the impetuosity which characterized her. "I 
have often worried about it. I mean," she added, 
as he laughed at her incoherence, "all that race dis- 
tinction. Does it really mean so much? Will it 
never be bridged over?" 

"Never," he said. "It can't be. It is a justified 
distinction and to my mind those who ignore it 
are to be despised." 

He had answered her question with only a part 
seriousness, his whole interest concentratedon the 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHECKED 113 

charm of her personality. But for once her gravity 
resisted the suppressed merriment in his eyes. 

"Are the natives, then, so contemptible?" she 
asked. 

"Not exactly contemptible, but inferior. They 
have not our culture, and whatsoever they borrow 
from us is only skin-deep. Beneath the varnish 
they are their elemental selves — lazy, cruel, treach- 
erous and unscrupulous. No, no. Each race must 
keep to itself. Our strength in India depends on 
our exclusiveness — upon keeping ourselves apart 
and above as superior beings. So long as they rec- 
ognhe we are superior, so long will they obey us." 

"It is superiority, then, which prevents every 
one except professors from taking any interest in 
the nativesi"' 

"Possibly," he returned, not quite so much at his 
ease. "One feels a natural repugnance, you know." 

"You would never have anything to do with 
them ?" 

"Not if I could help it." 

She sighed and turned away as though his gaze 
troubled her, 

"I don't know why — it makes me sad to hear 
you talk like that," she said. "It seems so terribly 
hard." 

"It is hard," he affirmed, following her out of the 
curious, heavy atmosphere into the evening sun- 
shine. "There are a great many things in life 
which, as far as we know, are inevitable, so that 
there is no use in worrying or thinking about them." 
Her more serious mood had conquered his good 
spirits, and tor a moment he stood at her side look- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



114 THE NATIVE BORN 

ing at the disused bungalow witH eyes as thought- 
ful as her own. "Isn't it strange?" he went on. 
"Our parents came together from different ends 
of the earth, doomed to die in the same spot and 
in the same hour, and we children, far away in 
England, knowing nothing of each other, have 
drifted back to the fatal place to find each other 
there and to — " 

"Yes," she said as he hesitated, "it is strange. I 
could almost think that this bungalow had some 
mysterious influence over our lives." 

He smiled in half confirmation of her fancy. 

"It may be. But come! We have had enough 
gloom for one evening. Let me gather some flow- 
ers for you before we go back." 

She assented, and they followed the winding 
paths, stopping here and there to cut down some 
of the most tempting of Mrs. Carmichael's tender- 
ly loved blossoms and always turning aside when 
they came in sight of the Colonel's verandah. No 
word of tenderness had ever passed between them, 
and yet they were happy to be together. It was 
as though a bond united them which had grown 
up, silent and unseen, from the first hour they had 
met, and in a quiet, peaceful way they knew that 
it existed and that they loved each other. 

From the verandah where she was sewing by 
the fading light Mrs. Carmichael could watch their 
appearing and disappearing figures amidst the trees 
with the satisfaction of a confirmed match-maker. 
She, too, knew of this bond, and though she was 
A trifle impatient with the slowness of the develop- 
ment, she was content to bide her time. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHECKED 115 

"I don't usually pay any attention to Station gos- 
sip," she said to her husband, who was trying to 
read the newly arrived Enghsh paper, "but for once 
in 3 way I believe there is something in it. Accord- 
ing to my experience, they should be engaged in 
less than a fortnight." 

Colonel Carmichael started. 

"Who? Lois and Stafford?" 

"Yes, of course. Who else? Everybody looks 
upon it as practically settled. Why do you look 
like that? You ought to be pleased. You said your- 
self that you were very fond of Stafford — " 

Carmichael made a quick gesture as though to 
stop the threatening torrent of expostulation. He 
had turned crimson and his whole manner was 
marked by an unusual uneasiness. 

"Of course, I am fond of Stafford," he began. 
"I only meant — " 

He was saved the trouble of explaining what he 
did mean by a sudden exclamation from his wife, 
who had let her work fall to the ground with a 
start of alarm. 

"Good gracious, Mr. Travers!" she cried in her 
sharp way. "What a fright you gave me ! I thought 
you were a horrible thug or something come to 
murder us all. There, how do you do!" She gave 
him her hand. "Will you have a cup of tea? We 
have just had ours, but if you would, I am quite 
ready to keep you company. Tea, as you know, is 
a weakness of mine. That is why my nerves are 
so bad." 

Travers bowed, smiling. He was rather paler 
than usual and the hand which held a large bou- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



u6 THE NATIVE BORN 

quet of freshly cut flowers trembled as though the 
shock his sudden appearance had caused Mrs. Car- 
michael had recoiled on himself. 

"Thank you — no," he said. "As a matter of fact, 
I came to bring these for Miss Caruthers, but as she 
is not here I should be very grateful if I might have 
a few words with you alone. I have something 
of importance, which it would be perhaps better 
to tell you first." 

"Certainly," the Colonel said, clearing his throat 
and settling himself farther back in his chair. "There 
is no time like the present." 

Travers looked at him in troubled surprise. The 
elder man's tone and attitude were those of some 
one confronted with a not unexpected but unpleas- 
ant crisis. 

"It concerns your ward, Colonel Carmichael," 
Travers said, taking the chair offered him. "I think 
you must have known long ago that I cared very 
dearly for her. I have come now to ask her to be 
my wife." 

He spoke quickly and abruptly, as though to hide 
a powerful emotion, and there was an instant's un- 
comfortable silence. Mrs. Carmichael's head was 
bent over her work. She did not dislike Travers, 
but this unexpected proposal upset all her plans 
and though it flattered her pride in Lois, she felt 
disturbed and thrown out of her course. 

"I think you have made a mistake, Mr. Travers," 
she said at last, as her husband remained obstinate- 
ly silent. "I have every reason to believe that Lois' 
heart is given elsewhere. However, we have no 
right to interfere — Lois must decide for herself. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHECKED 117 

She is her own mistress. What do you say, George, 
dear ?" 

The Colonel shifted his position. Evidently he 
was at a loss to express himself, and his brow re- 
mained clouded. 

"If it is Lois' wish, I shall put no obstacle in the 
way of her happiness," he said slowly. 

"Have you any personal objection, Colonel?" 

"1? O, dear, no!" was the hurried answer. 

There was a second silence, in which Mrs. Car- 
michael and Travers exchanged baffled glances. 
The Colonel seemed in some unaccountable way 
to have lost his nerve and, as though he felt and 
feared the questioning gaze of his wife, he leaned 
forward so that his face was hidden. 

"Personally I have no objection at all," he re- 
peated, as if seeking to gain time. "Like my wife, 
I had other ideas on the subject, but that has noth- 
ing to do with it. At the same time, I feel it — eh — 
my duty to — eh — tell you before you go further — 
for your sake, and— eh — every one's sake— certain 
details concerning Lois which I have not thought 
necessary to give to the world in general. You 
understand — I consider it my duty — only fair to 
yourself and Lois." 

"I quite understand," Travers said. He seemed 
in no way surprised, and his expression was that 
of 3 man waiting for the explanation to a problem 
which had long puzzled him. 

"Really, George !" expostulated Mrs. Carmichael, 
not without indignation, "one would think you were 
about to disinter the most horrible family skeleton. 
You are not to be alarmed, Mr. Travers. It is all 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



ii8 THE NATIVE BORN 

a little mysterioos, peitiaps, bat nothing to make 
»tck a fuss about." 

The Colonel looked up under the sting of ber 
reproach and tried to smile. 

"I dare say my wife is right," he said. "I am 
' rather foolish about the matter— possibly because 
-it is all linked tc^ether with a very painful period 
of my life. Mr. Travers, my dearest friend, Steven 
Caruthers, had mo children. The baby girl whom 
by his will he intrusted to my care was not his 
child, nor have I ever been able to discover whose 
child she really was. His will spoke of her as his 
adopted dau^ter, who was to bear his name and 
in fault of any other heir to inherit both his own 
and his wife's lai^e fortune. More I can not tell you, 
for I myself do not know more." 

He laid an almost timid emphasis on the word 
"know," as though somewhere at the back of his 
mind there lurked a suspicion which he dared nei- 
ther deny nor express openly, and, in spite of his 
attempt at cheerfulness, his features were still dis- 
turbed and gloomy. 

"You know one thing more, which you haven't 
mentioned," Mrs. Carmichael said, "and that is that 
Lois is of good family on both sides. Steven Caru- 
thers told you so." 

"Yes, that's true — I forgot," the Colonel assented. 
"He assured me that on both sides she was of good, 
even hig^ birth, and that he had adopted her partly 
because he had no children of his own and partly 
because of a debt of gratitude which he owed her 
father. It does not seem to me that it makes much 
difference." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00glc 



CHECKED 119 

"It makes all the difference in the world, George," 
retorted Mrs. Cannichael, who for some reason or 
another was considerably put out. "You don't 
want Mr. Travers to think that Lois was picked 
up in the street, do you?" 

"Of course not," her husband agreed, "but then 
— " He broke off, and all three relapsed into an 
awkward silence. Travers was the first to speak. 
He had been looking out over the garden and had 
seen Lois' white dress flash through the bushes. 

"For my part," he began quietly, "I can not see 
that what you have told me can have an influence 
on the matter. I love Lois. That is the chief thing 
—or rather the chief thing is whether or not she 
can learn to love mc. Whether she is the child of 
a sweep or a prince, it makes no difference to my 
feelings toward her." 

Mrs. Carmichael held out her hand. 

"Well, whatever happens, you are a man before 
you are a prig," she said, "and that is something 
to be thankful for in these degenerate days. Why, 
there is the child herself ! Come here, my dear." 

Lois came running up the verandah steps with 
Stafford close behind her. Her eyes were full of 
laughter and sunshine, and in her hand she held a 
mass of roses which Stafford had gathered during 
their ramble. 

"Good-evening, Mr. Travers," she exclaimed with 
pleased surprise, as he rose to greet her. "I did not 
expect to find you here. How grave you all look! 
And what lovely flowers I" 

Travers considered his bouquet with a rueful 
smile. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



130 THE NATIVE BORN 

"I brought them from my garden, Miss Cani- 
thers," he said, "They were meant for to-night's 
festivity. But it seems they have come too late — 
you are already well supplied." 

"Flowers never come too late and one can never 
have too many of theml" Lx>is answered gratefully. 
"Please bring them in here and I will put them in 
water." 

She led the way into the drawing-room and he 
followed her eagerly. Whether it was the sight of 
her charm and youth, or the warm greeting which 
he had read in her eyes, or the satisfied calm on 
Stafford's face, Travers himself could not have told, 
but in that moment he lost his usual self-possession. 
He was white and shaken like a man who sees him- 
self thrust suddenly to the brink of a chasm and 
knows that he must cross or fall. 

"Miss Caruthers!" he said. 

She turned quickly from the flowers which she was 
arranging in a bowl. The smile of pleasure which 
still lingered about her lips died away as she saw 
his face. 

"Miss Caruthers," he repeated earnestly, "it is 
perhaps neither wise nor right of me to speak now, 
but there are moments when anything— even the 
worst — is better than uncertainty, when a man can 
bear no more. Forgive me — I am not eloquent and 
what I have to tell can be encompassed in one word. 
I love you, Lois. I think you must know it, though 
you can not know how great my love is. Is there any 
hope for me?" 

She drew her hand gently but firmly from his 
half-unconscious clasp. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHECKED 121 

"I am sorry — no," she said, 

"Lois — I can't give up hope. Is tliere some one 
else?" 

She lifted her troubled eyes to his face. He saw 
in their depths a curious doubt and uncertainty. 

"I do not know," she said almost to herself. "I 
only know that you are not the man." 

The blow had calmed him. "Like a good general 
who has suffered a temporary check, he gathered' 
his forces together and prepared an orderly retreat. 

"I will not trouble you," he said gently. "I feel 
now that I did wrong to disturb your peace — God 
knows I would never willingly cause you an in- 
stant's sorrow — but a man who loves as I do must 
feed himself with hope, however wild and unreason- 
able. Now I know, and whatever happens — I hope 
you will be happy — I pray you will be happy. Yes, 
though I am not given to uttering prayers, I pray, 
SO" dear to me is the future which lies before you." 

"I am very grateful," she said with bowed head. 
Something in his broken, disjointed sentences 
brought the tears to her eyes and made her voice 
unsteady. She knew he was suffering — she knew 
why, and her heart went out to him in friendship 
and womanly pity. 

"You need not be grateful," he answered. "It 
is I who have to be grateful. In spite of it all, you 
do not know what good you have brought into my 
" life nor how you have unconsciously helped me. 
I shall never be able to help you as you have helped 
me — and yet — Will you promise me something?" 

"Anything in my power," she said faintly. 

"It is not much — only this. If the time should 

• D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



122 THE NATIVE BORN 

ever come when you are in trouble, if you should 
ever be in need of a true and devoted friend, will 
you turn to me? Will you let me try to pay my 
debt of gratitude to you?" 

She lifted her head and looked at him with tear- 
dimmed eyes. Every gpod woman sympathizes with 
those whose suffering she has inadvertently caused, 
and in that moment Lois would have done anything 
to alleviate Travers' pain. 

"If it should ever be necessary, I will turn to 
you," she said gently. "I promise you." 

'Thank yout" he said, and, taking her out- 
stretched hand, raised it reverently to his lips. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



AT THE GATES OF A GREAT PEOPLE 

ALTHOUGH Travers lost no time in setting to 
work on the task of calling a new and suitable club- 
house into existence, he realized immediately that, 
do what he would, he could not hope for comple- 
tion before the lapse of a considerable time, and 
this period of waiting did not suit his plans. Al- 
ready on the day after the Rajah's reception he had 
arran^d for a return of hospitality which was to 
take place in his own grounds and to be on an un- 
usually magnificent scale. The European popula- 
tion of Manit shru^ed its shoulders as it saw the 
preparations, and observed that if Travers had been 
as generous in the first place there would never 
have been any need to have sought for support from 
a foreign quarter — at which criticism Travers mere- 
ly smiled. The club-house was, after all, only a 
means to a very much more important end of his 
own. 

Rajah Nehal Singh of course accepted the invita- 
tion sent him, and scarcely a week passed before 
the eventful evening arrived toward which more 
than one looked forward with eager anticipation — 
not least Mrs, Cary, who saw in every large enter- 
tainment a fresh opportunity for Beatrice to carry 
out her own particular campaign. It was therefore, 
123 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gk' 



124 THE NATIVE BORN 

as Mrs. Cary angrily declared, a fresh dispensation 
of an unfriendly Providence that on the very same 
day Beatrice fell ill. What malady had her in its 
clutches was more than her distracted and ag- 
grieved mother could say. She sat before her 
writing-table, playing idly with a curiously cut 
stone, and appeared the picture of health. Yet she 
was ill — she repeated it obstinately and without 
variation a dozen times in response to Mrs. Gary's 
persistent protests. 

"You don't look ill," Mrs. Cary exclaimed in ex- 
asperation as, arrayed in her newest wonder from 
Paris, she came to say good-by. "I can't think what's 
the matter with you, and you won't explain. Have 
you got a pain anywhere? — Have you a headache? 
For goodness' sake, say something, child I" 

Beatrice looked at her mother calmly, and a curi- 
ous mixture of bitterness and amusement crept 
into her expression as her eyes wandered over the 
bulk in mauve satin to the red face with the indig- 
nant little eyes. 

"What do you want me to say?" she asked. "I 
can't explain pains I haven't got." 

"If you haven't got any pains, then you aren't 
ill." 

Beatrice laughed. 

"That shows how ignorant you are of the human 
constitution, my dear mother," she said, "The worst 
illnesses are painless — at least, in your sense of the 
word." 

"I am not so ignorant as not to know one thing 
— and that is you are simply shamming!" burst out 
the elder woman, with a vicious tug at her straining 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



GATES OF A GREAT PEOPLE 125 

gloves. "Shamming just to aggravate me, too I You 
do it to spite me. You are a bad daughter — " 

Beatrice turned round so sharply that Mrs. Cary 
broke off in the middle of her abuse with a gasp. 

"I do nothing to aggravate or spite you," Beatrice 
said, with a calm which her eyes belied. "I have 
never gone against you in the whole course of my 
life. What have I done since we have been here 
but play an obedient fiddle to Mr. Travers' will, in 
order that your position might not be endangered 

"Our position," interposed Mrs. Cary hurriedly. 

"No, your position. There may have been a 
time when I cared, too, but I don't now. I have 
ceased caring for anything. To suit Mr. Travers, 
I have fooled, and continue to fool, a man who has 
never harmed me in his life. I move heaven and 
earth to come between two people for whom alone in 
this whole place, I have a glimmer of respect." 

"Respect!" jeered Mrs. Cary. 

"Yes, respect — not much, I confess, but still 
enough to have made me leave them alone if I had 
had the chance. Lots has been kind to me. I hap- 
pen to know that, little as she likes me, she is about 
the only one in the Station who keeps her tongue 
from slander and — the truth. As for John Stafford, 
if he is a narrow-minded bigot, he is at least a man, 
and that is something to appreciate." 

"That is just what I think!" Mrs. Cary said con- 
ciliatingly. "And therefore he is the very husband 
for you, dear child." 

"You think so, not because he is a man, but be- 
cause he has a position in which it would suit you 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



126 THE NATIVE BORN 

excellently to have a son-in-law. Well, I have 
promised to do my best, though I am convinced 
it is too late." 

'There is no official engagement between them," 
Mrs. Cary said hopefully, "and you know your 
■ power, Beaty. He already likes you more than 
enough, and what with Mr, Travers on the other 
side — All the same," she continued, becoming sud- 
denly petulant, "it's too bad of you to throw away 
a chance like this." 

Beatrice covered her face with her hand with a 
gesture of complete weariness. 

"I have promised to do my best," she reiterated. 
"Let me do it my own way, I can not go to-night — 
I feel I can not. If I went, it would only be a failure. 
Let me for once be judge of what is best." 

Her mother sighed resignedly. 

"Very well. I suppose I can't force you. You 
can be as obstinate as a mule when you choose. I 
only hope you won't live to regret it. Good night." 

This time she did not give her daughter the usual 
perfunctory and barely tolerated kiss. At the bot- 
tom of her torpid, selfish soul she was bitterly hurt 
and disappointed, as those people always are who 
have hurt and disappointed others their whole lives, 
and only a glimmer of hope that Beatrice's deter- 
mination might have softened made her hesitate 
at the door and glance back. Beatrice sat just as 
she had sat the whole evening, in an attitude of 
moody thought, her fingers still playing with the 
blood-red ruby, and Mrs. Cary went out, slamming 
the door violently after her. 

In consequence of her long and futile appeal, Mrs. 



3,q,l,ZDdbyG00gIe 



GATES OF A GREAT PEOPLE 127 

Gary had made herself very late, and when she en- 
tered the large marquee which Travers had had 
erected in his garden she found that all the guests 
had arrived, including Rajah Nehal Singh himself. 
He stood facing the entrance, and she felt, with a 
consoling sense of spiteful triumph, how his glance 
hurried past her, seeking the figure which no doubt 
above all else had tempted him thither. 

The senior lady, Mrs. Carmichael, was at his 
side, and as Mrs. Gary in duty bound went up to 
pay her respects, she added satisfaction to satisfac- 
tion by relating loudly that her daughter had a 
slight headache which she had not thought it worth 
while to increase by a form of entertainment which, 
between you and me, dear Mrs. Carmichael, bad 
taste as it no doubt is, has no attractions for Bea- 
trice. Now, anything outdoor, and nothing will 
keep her from it 1 She turned to Stafford, who was 
standing with Lois close at hand. "That reminds 
me to tell you. Captain, how tremendously my daughter 
enjoyed her ride with you yesterday. If you promise 
not to get conceited, I will tell you what she said." 

"I promise !" he said, with a mock gravity which 
concealed a very real amusement. 

"She said that in her opinion there wasn't a better 
horseman in Marut, and that it was more pleasure 
to ride with you than any one else. Now, are you 
keeping your promise?" She tapped him playfully 
on the arm. Stafford bowed, looking what he felt, 
hot and uncomfortable. There are some people 
who have the knack of making others ashamed of 
them and of themselves. Mrs. Gary was just such 
a person. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



128 THE NATIVE BORN 

"It was very kind of Miss Cary to say so," Staf- 
ford said stiffly. "I am afraid her praise is not 
justified." 

All this time Nehal Singh had been standing at 
Mrs. Gary's elbow, and she had persistently ignored 
him. Deeper than her reverence for any form of 
title was her wounded conviction that he had once 
laughed at her and made her ridiculous, and to this 
injury was added the insult that it came from a 
man whom, as an Ei^lishwoman, she had the priv- 
ilege of "tolerating." A true parvenu, she had 
quickly learned to suspect and despise the credentials 
of other intruders. 

He turned away from her and tor the first time 
there was something hesitating and troubled in his 
manner. Hitherto there had been songs and music 
for his entertainment; it was now the turn of the 
Europeans to follow their usual form of pleasure, 
yet they looked at one another questioningly. It was 
the custom of the chief guest of the evening to open 
the dancing, but this could hardly be expected of a 
native prince who was as yet ignorant of such things 
and who must still be bound and fettered by caste and 
religion. 

The pause of uncertainty lasted only a moment, 
but for those at least whose eyes were open, it was 
a moment symbolical of a great loneliness. In the 
midst of a gay and crowded world of people, linked 
together by a common tie of blood, Nehal Singh 
stood isolated. He did not know it, but it was that 
loneliness which cast a transitory chill upon his 
enthusiasm and made him draw himself stiffly up- 
right and face the hundred questioning eyes with 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



GATES OF A GREAT PEOPLE 129 

a new hauteur. An instant and it was gone — that il- 
luminating flash vanished, like a line drawn across 
a quicksand, beneath the surface, never to be seen 
again, perhaps never even to be remembered. 

Stafford led Lois out into the center, and one 
pair after another followed his example. With 
Travers still at his side, the Rajah drew back from 
the now crowded floor of dancers, and watched the 
scene with glistening, eager eyes, happy at last to 
be in the midst of them — the Great People of the 
world. It was a brilliant scene, for Travers had 
spared nothing. The sides of the marquee banked 
with flowers, the music, the brilliant dresses and 
uniforms, were all calculated to impress a mind as 
yet curiously unspoiled by the pomp and magnifi- 
cence of the East. They impressed Nehal Singh 
deeply ; his mind was filled with a wonder and pleas- 
ure which did something toward soothing the first 
bitter disappointment that the evening had brought 
him. 

But above all else, he wondered at himself and the 
rapidity of the fate which in two short weeks had 
swept him out of his solitude into the very vortex 
of a world unknown to him save through his books. 
He asked himself what power it was that had flung 
aside caste, religion, education, like a child's sand- 
castle before the onrush of a mighty tide. Caste, 
religion, hatred of the foreigner, these things had 
been sown deep into him, had been fostered and 
trained like precious plants, and now they were 
dead at the first contact with European ideas. They 
were gone as though they had never been. He had 
made no resistance. He had drifted with the stream. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



130 THE NATIVE BORN 

regardless of the entreating, threatening hands held 
out to him ; yielding to a divine power stronger than 
himself, stronger far than the implanted principles of 
his life. 

His wonder, though he did not know it, was 
shared by the Englishman at his side. Travers, ac- 
customed as he was to look upon human theories 
and principles as buyable and saleable appendages, 
could not suppress a mild surprise at the rapidity 
with which this Hindu prince had assimilated the 
ideas and mental attitude of another hemisphere. 
Possibly it could be traced back to the parrot-like 
propensities of all inferior races, but Travers, much 
as the solution appealed to him, could not accept it. 
A parrot that assumes with apparent ease the ways 
of his master within a fortnight, and thereby retains 
a striking originality of his own, is not an ordinary 
parrot, and the conviction was dawning on Travers 
that Nehal Singh was not an ordinary Hindu. The 
unusual simplicity of his dress, which nevertheless 
concealed a costly and refined taste, his firm though 
unpretentious bearing, the energy with which he 
had overthrown what Travers guessed must have 
been a fairly violent opposition on the part of his 
priestly advisers, pointed to a decided, interesting 
and perhaps, under certain circumstances, danger- 
ous personality. The latter part of this deduction 
had not as yet struck Travers in its full force, but 
so much he at least felt that he proceeded to go 
warily, relying on his diplomacy and still more on 
a weapon which was not the less effective for being 
kept, as on this occasion, in the background. 

"Rajah Sahib, this is our second meeting," he 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



GATES OF A GREAT PEOPLE 131 

said, after a few minutes' study of the handsome 
absorbed face, "I have my answer ready." 

Nehal Singh turned at once, as though he had 
been waiting for Travers to broach the subject. 

"You have not forgotten, then?" 

"Forgotten? No; it lent itself too easily to my 
fancy and secret ambition for me to forget. Doubt- 
less, though, my answer will not appeal to you, 
for it is the answer of a business man with a busi- 
ness hobby of immense proportions and of the earth 
earthy," 

"Nevertheless, tell it to me," Nehal Singh said, 
looking about him as though seeking a way out of 
the noise and confusion. "Whatever it is, it will 
interest me so long as it has one object." 

"I venture to think I know that object," was 
Travers' mental comment as be led the way into 
the second division of the marquee. 

The place had been laid out as a refreshment 
room, with small, prettily decorated tables, and 
was for the moment empty, save for a few busy 
native servants. An electric globe hung from the 
ceiling, and immediately beneath its brilliant light 
Travers came to a standstill. He put his hand in 
bis pocket and drew out what seemed to be a jewel- 
case, which he opened and handed to the Rajah. 

"Before I say anything further, I want you to 
look at that and give me your opinion, Rajah Sahib," 
he said. "I will then proceed." 

Nehal Singh took the small white stone from 
the case and studied it intently. He held it to the 
light, and it flashed back at him a hundred brilliant 
colors. He smiled with the pleasure of a connoisseur. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



132 THE NATIVE BORN 

"It is a diamond," he said, "a beautiful diaraond. 
Though smaller, it must surely equal the one I 
wear in my turban." 

"You confirm my opinion and the opinion of all 
experts," Travers answered enthusiastically, "and 
I will confess to you that it is that stone which has 
prolonged my stay indefinitely at Manit. About 
a year ago a friend of mine, an engineer, who was 
engaged on some government work at the river, 
had occasion to make excavations about a quarter 
of a mile from the Bazaar. He happened to come 
across this stone, and being something of an ex- 
pert, he recognized it — and held his tongue. When 
he came south again to Madras, he confided hit discov- 
ery to me, and, impressed by his story, and the 
stone, I sent a mining engineer to Marut to make 
secret investigations. I received his report six 
months ago." 

Nehal Singh replaced the stone slowly in its case. 

"What did he say?" he asked. 

"He reported that there were sure and certain 
signs that the whole of the Bazaar is built upon a 
diamond field of unusual proportions, which, un- 
like other Indian mining enterprises, was likely to 
repay, doubly repay, exploitation. I immediately 
came to Marut, and found that the Bazaar was en- 
tirely your property. Rajah Sahib, and that you 
were not likely to be influenced by any representa- 
tions. Nevertheless I remained, experimenting and 
investigating, above all hoping that some chance 
would lead me in your way. Destiny, as you see. 
Rajah Sahib, has spoken the approving word." 

Nehal Singh sighed as he handed the case back. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



GATES OF A GREAT PEOPLE 133 

and the sigh expressed a rather weary disappoint- 
ment. 

"I have stones enough and wealth enough," he 
said. "I have no need of more." 

"It was not of you I was thinking, Rajah Sahib," 
Travers returned. 

"Of whom, then?" 

"Of myself, to some extent, as becomes a busi- 
ness man, but also, and I venture to assert princi- 
pally, of the general welfare of your country and 
people." 

"I fear I do not understand you." 

"And yet. Rajah Sahib, you have read, and have 
no doubt been able to trace through history the 
source of prosperity and misfortune among the na- 
tions. The curse of India is her overpopulation 
and the inability of her people to extract from the 
earth sufficient means for existence. If I may say 
so, the ordinary native is a dreamer who prefers 
to starve on a treasure hoard rather than bestir 
himself to unbury it. Lack of energy, lack of initia- 
tive, lack of opportunity, lack also of guides have 
made your subjects suffering idlers whose very ex- 
istence is a curse to themselves and an unsolved 
problem for others. Charity can not help them — 
that enervating poison has already done enough 
mischief. You could fling away your whole for- 
tune on your state, and leave it with no improve- 
ment. The cure, if cure there be, lies in the awaken- 
ing of a sense of independence and ambition and 
self-respect. Only work can do this, only work 
can transform them from beggars into honorable, 
self-supporting members of the Empire; and the 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



J34 THE NATIVE BORN 

crying misery of the present time calls upon you. 
Rajah Sahib, to rouse them to their new task t" 

He had spoken with an enthusiasm which grew 
in measure as he saw its effect upon his hearer. 
For though he did not immediately respond, Nehal 
Singh's face had betrayed emotions which a natural 
dignity was learning to hold back from impulsive 
expression. He answered at last quietly, but with 
an irrepressible undercurrent of eagerness. 

"You speak convincingly," he said ; "and though 
I fear you overrate the hidden powers of activity 
in my people, you have made me still more anxious 
for a direct answer to my question — what would 
you do in my place?" 

"If I had the money and the power, I would 
sweep the Bazaar, with all its dirt and disease, out 
of existence," Travers answered energetically. "I 
would build up a new native quarter outside Marut, 
and enforce order and cleanliness. Where the pres- 
ent Bazaar stands, I would open out a mine, and 
with the help of European experts encourage the 
natives into the subsequent employment which 
would stand open to them. In a short time a mere 
military Station would become the center of native in- 
dustry and commercial prosperity." 

A faint skeptical smile played around Nehal Sii^h's 
mouth, but his eyes were still profoundly grave. 

"If I know my people, I fear they will revolt 
against such changes," he said. ■ "You have de- 
scribed them as dreamers who prefer starvation to 
effort — such they are." 

"Your influence would be irresistible. Rajah Sa- 
hib." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



GATES OF A GREAT PEOPLE T35 

Nehal Singh looked at Travers keenly. For the 
second time he had been spoken of as a power. Was 
it perhaps true, as his father had said, and this 
cool Englishman had said, that the thoughts and 
actions of more than a million people lay at his 
command? If so, the twenty-five years of his life 
had been wasted, and he stood far below the high 
standard which had been set him. He had wan- 
dered aimlessly along a smooth path, cut off from 
the world, plucking such fruits and flowers as of- 
fered themselves within his reach, deaf to the cries 
of those to whom his highest efforts should have 
been dedicated. He had dreamed where he should 
have acted, slept where he should have watched and 
labored unceasingly, yet it was not too late. He 
felt how his whole dream-world shivered beneath 
the convulsions of his awakening energies. The 
vague, futile, uneasy longings of his immaturity 
took definite shape. His shackled abilities awaited 
only the signal to throw off their fetters and in 
freedom to create good for the whole world. 

"You have shown me possibilities of which I never 
dreamed," he said to Travers. "I must speak to you 
again, and soon, for if things are as you say, then time 
enough has been wasted. But not to-night To-mor- 
row I will see you — or no, not to-morrow — the day 
after. I must have time to think." 

The waltz had died sentimentally into silence, 
and he made a gesture indicating that he wished to 
return to the ball-room. Yet on the threshold he hesi- 
tated and drew back. 

"The light and confusion trouble me," he said, 
passing his hand over his eyes, "and my mtnd is 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



136 THE NATIVE BORN 

full of new thoughts. If you will permit, I will 
take my leave. My servants are waiting outside, 
and if you will carry my thanks to ny other hosts, 
I should prefer to go unnoticed." 

"It is as you wish. Rajah Sahib," Travers re- 
turned. "It is we who have to thank you for par- 
taking of our poor hospitality." 

"You have given me more than hospitality," Ne- 
hal Singh interposed. Then he lifted his hand in 
salute. "In two days I shall expect you." 

"In two days." 

Travers watched the tall, white-clad figure pass 
out of the brightly lighted tent into the darkness. From 
beginning to end, his plans had been crowned with 
unhoped-for success, and yet he was puzzled. 

"I wonder why in two days?" he thought. "Why 
not to-morrow? I wonder if by any chance — !" He 
broke off with a smothered laugh. "It is just pos- 
sible. I'll make sure and send her a line." 

Then, as the band began the first bars of a sec- 
ond waltz, he hurried back into the crowded roora 
in time to forestall Stafford at Lois' side. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER XI 



WITHIN THE GATES 



NEHAL SINGH'S servants stood witH the Horses 
outside Travers' compound and waited. Their mas- 
ter did not disturb them. Glad as he was to get 
away from the crowd of strangers and the dazzling 
Ughts and colors, it still pleased him to be within 
bearing of the music which, softened by the dis- 
tance, exercised a melancholy yet soothing influ- 
ence upon his disturbed mind. For the dreamy 
peace had gone for ever — as indeed it must be when 
the soul of man is roughly shaken into living, pul- 
sating life, and he fevered with a hundred as yet 
disordered hopes and ambitions. To be a benefactor 
to his people and to all mankind, to be the first pio- 
neer of his race in the search after civilization and 
culture — these had been the dreams of his hitherto 
wasted life, only he had never recognized them, 
never understood whither the restless impulses 
were driving him. It had needed the pure soul of a 
good woman to unlock the best from his own ; it 
had needed the genius of a clear brain to harness 
the untrained faculties to some definite aim. The 
soul of a woman had come and had planted upon 
him the purity of her high ideal ; the genius had al- 
ready shot its first illuminating ray into his dark- 
ness. Henceforth the watchword for them all was 
137 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



138 THE NATIVE BORN 

to be "Forward," and Nehal Singh, standing like a 
white ghost in the deserted compound, shaken by 
the force of his own emotions, intoxicated by his 
own happiness and the shining future which spread 
itself before his eyes, sent up a prayer such as rare- 
ly ascends from earth to Heaven. To whom? Not 
to Brahma. His mind had burst like a raging tide 
over the flood-gates of caste and creed and embraced 
the whole world and the one God who has no name, 
no creed, no dogma, but whom in that moment he rec- 
t^nized in great thanksgiving as the Universal Father. 

Thus far had Nehal Singh traveled in two short 
weeks — guided by a woman who had no God and 
a man who had no God save his own ends. But 
he did not know this. As he began to pace slowly 
backward and forward, listening to the distant music, 
he thought of her, and measured himself with her ideal 
in a humility which did not reject hope. One day he 
would be able to stand before her and say, "Thus far 
have I worked and striven for inner worth and for the 
good of my brothers, I have kept myself pure and 
honest, I have cultivated in myself the best I have, and 
have been inexorable against the evil. Thus much 
have I attained." 

Further than that triumphant moment he did not 
think, but he thanked God for the ideal which had 
been set him — the Great People's ideal of a man — and 
for the afterward which he knew must come. 

Thus absorbed in his own reflections, he reached 
Travers' bungalow, and a ray of light falling across 
his path, brought him sharply back to the present 
reality. He looked up and saw that a table had 
been pulled out on to the verandah, and that four offi- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG0»gle 



WITHIN THE GATES 139 

cers sat round it, playing cards by the light of a 
lamp. At Marut there was always a heavy super- 
fluity of men, and these four, doubtless weary of 
standing uselessly about, had made good their es- 
cape to enjoy themselves in their own way. Nehal 
Singh hesitated. He felt a strong desire to go up 
and join them, to learn to know them outside the 
enervating, leveling atmosphere of social intercourse 
where each is forced to keep his real individuality hid- 
den behind a wall of phrases. Now, no doubt, they 
would show themselves openly to him as they were; 
they would admit him into the circle of their intimate 
life, and teach him the secret of the greatness which 
had carried their flag to the four comers of the earth. 
Yet he hesitated to make his presence known. The 
study of the four faces, unconscious of his scrutiny, 
absorbed him. 

The two elder men were known to him, although 
their names were forgotten. Their fair hair, regu- 
lar, somewhat cold, features led him to suppose 
that they were brothers. The other two were con- 
siderably younger — they seemed to Nehal Singh 
almost boys, though in all probability they were 
his own age. One especially interested him. He 
was a good-looking young fellow, with pleasant if 
somewhat effeminate features and a healthy skin 
bronzed with the Indian sun. He sat directly op- 
posite where Nehal Singh stood in the shadow, and 
when he shifted his cards, as he often did in a rest- 
less, uneasy way, he gave the unseen watcher an 
opportunity to study every line of his set face. 

Nehal Singh wondered at his expression. The others 
were grave with the gravity of indifference, but 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



I40 THE NATIVE BORN 

this boy had his teeth set, and something in his 
eyes reminded Nehal Singh of a dog he had once 
seen confronted suddenly with an infuriated rattle- 
snake. It was the expression of hypnotized fear which 
held him back from intruding himself upon them, and 
he was about to retrace his steps quietly when the 
man who was seated next the balustrade turned and 
glanced so directly toward him that Nehal Singh 
thought his presence was discovered. The officer's 
next words showed, however, that his gaze had passed 
over Nehal Singh's head to the brightly lighted mar- 
quee on the other side of the compound. 

"I'm glad to be out of that crush," Captain Webb 
said, as he lazily gathered up his cards. "Fear- 
fully rotten show I call it — not a pretty girl among 
the lot, and a heat enough to make the devil envi- 
ous t I can't think what induced our respected Na- 
poleon to make such a fool of himself." 

"Napoleon hasn't made a fool of himself, you can 
make yourself easy on that score," Saunders re- 
torted. "Napoleon knows on which side of the bread his 
butter lies, even if you don't. When he dances at- 
tendance on any one, you can take it on trust that 
the butter isn't far off. No, no ; I've a great rever- 
ence for Nappy's genius." 

"It's an infernally undignified proceeding, any- 
how," Webb went on. "I'm beginning to see that 
old Stafford wasn't so far wrong. What do we 
want with the fellow ? AH this kowtowing will go to 
his head and make him as 'uppish' as the rest of 'em. 
He's conceited enough, already, aping us as thoi^h he 
had been at it all his life." 

"That's the mistake we English are always mak- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



WITHIN THE GATES 141 

ing," grumbled Saunders, as he played out "We 
are too familiar. We swallow anything for diplo- 
macy's sake, even if it hasn't got so much as a coat- 
ing of varnish. We pull these fellows up to our 
level and pamper them as though they were our 
equals, and then when they find we won't go the 
whole hc^, they turn nasty and there's the devil to 
pay. In this case I didn't mind so long as he kept his 
place, but then that's what they never do. That's our 
rubber, I think. Shall we stop?" 

"I've had enough, anyhow," his vis^a-vis answered. 
"Add up the dem total, will you, there's a good fellow. 
I must be getting hcnne. There's that boring parade 
to-morrow at five ^ain, and I've got a headache that 
will last me a week, thanks to Nappy's bad champagne. 
Well, what's the damage?" 

The young fellow who had sat with his head 
bowed over his cards looked up with a sickly smile. 

"Yes, what's the damage?" he said. "I can't be 
bothered — I've lost count. You and I must have 
done pretty badly, Phipps." 

"I dare say we shall survive," his partner rejoined 
carelessly. "We have lost five rubbers. How does 
that work out, Webb?" 

"Ill trouble you for a hundred each," Webb an- 
swered, after a minute's calculation. "Quite a nice, 
profitable evenii^ for us, eh, Saunders. Thanks, 
awfully, old fellow." He gathered up the rupees 
which the boy's partner had pushed toward him. The 
boy himself sat as though frozen to stone. Only when 
Saunders gave him a friendly nudge, he started and 
looked about him as though he had been awakened out 
of a trance. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



I4» THE NATIVE BORN 

"I'm awfully sorry," he stuttered ; "you and Webb 
— would you mind waiting till to-morrow ? I'll raise 
it somehow — I haven't got so much — " 

Phipps broke into a laugh. 

"You silly young duffer !" he said. "What have 
you been doing with your pocket money, di? Been 
buying too many sweeties?" 

The other two men roared, but the boy's fea- 
tures never relaxed, 

"I tell you I haven't got so much with me," he 
mumbled, "ni bring it to-morrow, I promise," 

Webb rose from his chair, stretching himself lan- 
guidly, 

"AH right," he ^reed. "To-morrow will do. By 
Jove, what a gorgeous nig^t it is!" He leaned over 
the balustrade, lifting his aristocratic face to the 
sky. "Saunders, you don't want to go to bed, you 
old cormorant. Come on with me, and we'll spend 
the night hours worthily." 

"I'm game !" Saunders rejoined. "That is, if it's 
anything decent. I'm not going to do any more 
tar-worshipping, that's certain." 

"Don't want you to, I'm going to dress up and 
have a run around the Bazaar, and if you want a 
little excitement, you had better do likewise. You 
see things you don't see in the daytime, I can tell 
you, and some of the women aren't bad. Come on ! 
We can run round to my diggings and change. 
Are you coming, Phipps and Geoffries?" 

The weedy young man addressed as Phipps rose 
with alacrity. 

"Anything for a change," he said. "Wake up, 
Innocence!" He brought his hand down witii a 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



WITHIN THE GATES 143 

friendly thump on Geoflfries' shoulder, but the Soy 
shook his head. 

"No," he said, in the same rough, monotooous 
voice. "I'm done for to-night. You fellows get 
on without me." 

"As you like. Good night." 

"Good night." 

The three men went into the bungalow. Grad- 
ually their voices died away in the distance, but the 
boy never moved, never shifted his blank stare 
from the cards* in front of him. It was a curious 
tableau. In the midst of the darkness it was as 
though a lime-light had been thrown on to a theat- 
rical representation of despair, while beneath, hidden 
by the shadow, a lonely spectator, to whom the scene 
was a horrible revelation, fought out a hard battle be- 
tween indignation and disbelief. 

Throughout the conversation Nehal Singh had 
stood rigid, his hand clenched on the jeweled hilt 
of his sword, his eyes riveted on the faces of the 
four men who were thus unconsciously drawing 
him into the intimate circle of their life. Much that 
they said was incomprehensible to him. The refer- 
ences to "Napoleon" and to the unknown individual 
contemptuously dubbed "the fellow" were not clear, 
but they left him a gnawing sense of insult and 
scorn which he could not conquer. The subsequent 
chink of money changing hands had jarred upon 
his ears — the final dispute concerning their further 
pleasure made him sick with disgust. These "gentle- 
men" sought their amusement in a place where he 
would have scorned to set his foot. 

Thi» fact obliterated for a moment every other con- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



144 THE NATIVE BORN 

sideration. Was it to these that his hero-worship 
was dedicated? Were these the men from whom 
he was to learn greatness of thought, heroism of 
action, purity in life, idealism — ^these blatant, coarse- 
worded, coarse-minded cynics to whom duty was a 
"bore" and pleasure an excuse to plunge into the 
lowest dregs of existence? In vain his young en- 
thusiasm, his almost passionate desire to honor 
greatness in others fought his contemptuous con- 
viction of their unworthiness. Gradually, it is true, 
he grew calmer, and, like a climber who has been 
flung from a high peak, gathered himself from his 
fall, ready to climb again. He told himself that 
as an outsider he did not understand either the 
words or the actions which he had heard and wit- 
nessed, that he judged them by the narrow stand- 
ard of a life spent cut off from the practical ways 
of the world. He repeated to himself Beatrice 
Gary's assurance — "All men do not carry their heart 
on their sleeve." He told himself that behind the 
jarring flippancy there still could lurk a hidden 
depth and greatness. Nevertheless the received 
impression was stronger than all argument. The 
climber, apparently unhurt, had sustained a vital 
injury. 

Nehal Singh was about to turn away, desirous 
only to be alone, when a sound fell on his cars which 
sent a sudden sharp thrill through his troubled 
heart. It was a groan, a single, half-smothered 
groan, breaking through compressed lips by the 
very force of an overpowering misery. Nehal 
looked back. The blank stare was gone, the boy 
lay with his face buried in his arms. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



WITHIN THE GATES MS 

In that moment the dreamer in Nehal died, the 
man of instant, impulsive action took his place. He 
hurried up the steps of the verandah and laid his 
hand on the bowed shoulder. 

"You are in trouble," he said. ".What is the mat- 
ter?" 

As though he had been struck by a shock of 
electricity, Geoffries half sprang to his feet, and 
then, as he saw the dark face so close to his own, 
he sank back again, speechless and white to the 
lips. For a moment the two men looked at each 
other in unbroken silence. 

"I am sorry I have startled you," Nehal said at 
length, "but I oould not see you in such distress. I do 
not know what it is, but if you will confide in me, I 
may be able to help you." 

"Rajah Sahib," stammered the young fellow, in 
helpless confusion, "if I had known you were there 

"You would not have revealed your trouble to 
me?" Nehal finished, with a faint smile. "And 
that, I think, would have been a pity for us both. 
If I can help you, perhaps you can help me." He 
paused and then added slowly ; "I have been stand- 
ing watching you a long time." 

"A long time !" A curious fear crept over the 
boyish face. "You saw us playing, then — and heard 
what we said?" 

"Yes." 

"And you wish to help me?" 

"If I can." 

GeofiFries turned his head away, avoiding the di- 
rect gaze. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



146 THE NATIVE BORN 

"You are very kind, RajaH Sahib. I'm afraid I'm 
not to be helped." 

The sight of that awkward shame and misery 
drove all personal grief from Nehal's mind. He 
drew forward a chair and seated himself opposite 
his companion, clasping his sinewy, well-shaped 
hands on the table before him. 

"Let us try and put all formalities aside," he 
said. "If you can treat me as a friend, let nothing 
prevent you. We are strangers to each other, but 
then the whole world is stranger to me. Yet I 
would be glad to help and understand the world, 
as I would be glad to help and understand you if 
you will let me." 

Geoffries looked shyly at this strange deus ex 
machina, troubled by perplexing considerations. 
How much had the Rajah heard of the previous 
conversation, how much had he understood? Above 
all, what would his comrades say if they found him 
pouring out his heart to "this fellow," who had 
been the constant butt for their arrogant contempt? 
And yet, as often happens, amidst his many friends 
he was intensely atone. There was no single one 
to whom he could turn with the burden of his con- 
science, no one to whom he did not systematically 
play himself off as something other than he was. 
And opposite he looked into a face full of grave 
sympathy, not unshadowed with personal sadness. 
Yet he hesitated, and Nehal Singh went on thought* 
fully: 

"There arc some things I do not understand," he 
said. "You were playing some game for money. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



WITHIN THE GATES 14/ 

I have heard of that before, but I do not undir- 
stand. Are you then, so poor?" 

Geoffries laughed miserably. 

"I am now," he said. 

"Then it is money that is the trouble ?" 

"It always is. At first one plays for the fun of 
the thing and because — oh, well, one has to, don't you 
know. Afterward, one plays to get it back." 

"But you have not got it back?" 

Geoffries shook his head. 

"I never do," he said. "I'm a rotter at bridge." 

"A hundred rupees !" Nehal went on reflectively. 
"That was the sum, I think? It is very little — not 
enough to cause you any trouble." 

"Not by itself," Geoffries agreed, with a fresh 
collapse into his old depression. "But it is the last 
straw. I'm cut pretty short by the home people, 
who don't understand, and there are other things — 
polo ponies, dinner-races, subscriptions — " 

"And the Bazaar." 

Geoffries caught his breath and glanced across 
at the stem, unhappy face. He read there in an 
instant a pitying contempt which at first seemed 
ridiculous, and then insolent, and then terrible. Boy 
as he was, there flashed through his easy-going 
brain some vague unformed recognition of the un- 
shifting national responsibility which weighs upon 
the shoulders of the greatest and the least. He 
understood, though not clearly, that he and his three 
|>3mrades had dragged themselves and their race 
in the mud at the feet of a foreigner, and with that 
shock of understanding came the desire to vindi- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



148 THE NATIVE BORN 

cate himself and the uncounted millions who were 
linked to him. 

"You think hadly of us. Rajah Sahib," he said 
fiercely. "Perhaps you have a right to do so from 
what you have seen ; but you have not seen all — no, 
not nearly all. You've seen us in the soft days 
when we've nothing to do but drill recruits and while 
away the time as best we can. Think what the 
monotony means — day after day the same work, 
the same faces. Who can blame us if we get slack 
and ready to do anything for a change? I know 
some of us are rotters— especially here in Marut. 
Most of us belong to the British Regiment, and are 
accustomed to luxury and ease in the old country. 
I haven't got that excuse — I'm in the Gurkhas — 
and what I do I do because I am a rotter. But 
there are men who are not. There are men, Rajah 
Sahib, right up there by the northern provinces, 
who are made of steel and iron, real men, heroes — " 

Nehal Singh leaned forward and caught his com- 
panion by the arm. 

"Heroes?" he said with passionate earnestness. 
"Heroes?" 

Geoffries nodded. That look of enthusiastic sym- 
pathy won his heart and awoke his soldier's slum- 
bering pride. 

"I'm no good at explaining," he said, "but I know 
of things that would stir your blood. For a whole 
year — my first year — I was up north in a mud fort- 
ress where there was only one other European offi- 
cer. It was Nicholson. You mayn't have heard 
of him — precious few people have — but up there in 
that lonely, awful place, with wild hill-tribes about 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



WITHIN THE GATES 149 

us and a handful of sepoys for our protection, he 
was a god — yes, a god; for there was not one of 
us that didn't worship him and honor him. We 
would have followed him to the mouth of hell. He 
was young, only six months a captain, and yet there 
was nothing he didn't seem to know, nothing he 
couldn't do. Every day he was in the saddle, recon- ■ 
noitering, visiting the heads of the tribes, making 
peace, distributing justice. Every day he went out 
with his life in his hands, and every night he came 
back, quiet, unpretending, never boasting, never 
complaining, and yet we knew that somewhere he 
had risked himself to clear a stone out of our way, 
to win an enemy over to our side, to confirm a friend 
in his friendship. Yes, he was a man; and there 
are others like him. No one hears about them, but 
they don't care. They go on giving their lives and 
energy to their work, and never ask for thanks or 
reward. I — once hoped to be like that ; but I came 
to Marut — and then — " He stumbled and stopped 
short. "I'm a ranting fool !" he went on angrily. 
"You won't understand. Rajah Sahib, but I couldn't 
stand your thinking that they are all like me — " 

Nehal Singh rose to his feet, 

"Nicholson !" he repeated slowly, as thou0i he 
had not heard. "I shall remember that name. And 
there are more like him ? That is well." Then he 
laid his hand on the young officer's shoulder. "I 
am going to help you," he said. "I am going to 
save you from whatever trouble you are in, and 
then you must go back to the frontiers and become 
a man after the ideal that has been set you. One 
day you can repay me." 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



ISO THE NATIVE BORN 

The storm of protest died on Geoffries' lips. 
Prejudices, the ingrained arrogance of race which 
scorned to accept friendship at the hands of an in- 
ferior, sank to ashes as his eyes met those of this 
Hindu prince. 

"What have I done to deserve your kindness. 
Rajah Sahib?" he began helplessly, but Nehal Sin^ 
cut him smilingly short. 

"You have saved me," he said. "To-night my 
faith hung in the balance. You have given it back 
to me, and in my turn I will save you and give you 
back what you have lost. And this shall be a bond 
between us. You will hear from rae to-morrow. 
Good night." 

"Good night. Rajah Sahib — and — thank you." He 
hesitated, and then went on painfully : "You have 
shown me that we have behaved like cads. I — am 
awfully sorry," 

He was not referring to the Basaar, as Nehal lup- 
posed. 

"The past is over and done with," Nehal Singh 
answered, "but the future is ours — and the com- 
mon ideal which we must follow for the common 
good." 

Hugh Geoffries stood a long time after the Rajah 
had left him, absorbed in wondering speculation. 
Who was this strange man who a few weeks ago 
had been but a shadow, and to-day stood in the 
midst of them, sharing their life and yet curiously 
alone? He had met other Indian rulers, but they 
had not been as this man. They had also joined 
the European life, but they had come as strangers 
and had remained as strangers. Thev had learned 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



WITHIN THE GATES 151 

to assume an outward conformity which this prince 
had not needed to learn. And yet he stood alone, 
even among his own people alone. Wherein lay 
the link, wherein the barrier? Was it caste, re- 
ligion ? 

Hugh Geoffries found no answer to these ques- 
tions. He went home sobered and thoughtful, dim- 
ly conscious that he had brushed past the mystery 
of a great character, whom, in spite of all, he had 
been forced to reverence. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER XIL 

THE WHITE HAND 

IT is an old truth that things have their true exist- 
ence only in ourselves. A picture is perfect, moderate, 
or indifferent, according to our tastes ; an event fortu- 
nate or unfortunate acOTrding to our character. Thus 
life, though in reality no more than a pure stream of 
colorless water, changes its hue the moment it is poured 
into the waiting pitdiers, and becomes turbid, or as- 
sumes some lovely color, or retains its first crystal clear- 
ness, in measure that the earthenware is of the best or 
poorest quality. 

In Travers' pitcher it had become kaleidoscopic, 
only saved from dire confusion by one steady, con- 
sistent color, which tinged and killed by its brilliancy 
the hundred other rainbow fragments. Such was life 
for him — such at least it had become — a gay chaos in 
which the one important thing was himself; a game, 
partly instructive, partly amusing, with no rules save 
that the player is expected to win. Of course, as in all 
matters, a certain order, or appearance of order, had to 
be maintained ; but Travers believed, and thought every 
one else believed, that it was a mere "appearance," and 
that, as in the childish game of "cheating," the card 
put on the table has not always the face it is affirmed 
by the player to possess. Doubtless it is sometimes 
an honest card — ^Travers himself played honest 
152 



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THE WHITE HAND 153 

cards very often — but that is part of the game, part 
of the cheating, one might be tempted to say. 

A suspicious opponent becomes shy of accusit^ a 
player who has been able to refute a previous ac- 
cusation, and those people whose doubts had been 
aroused by one of Travers' transactions, and had 
been rash enough to conclude that all Travers' 
works were "shady," had been badly burned for their 
presumption. After one indignant vindication of 
his methods Travers had been allowed to go his 
way, smiling, unperturbed, with a friendly twinkle 
in his eye for his detractors which acknowledged 
a perfect understanding. On the whole he had 
been successful. A Napoleon of finance, he never 
burned his bridges. If any of his campaigns failed, 
as they sometimes did, he had always a safe re- 
treat left open; and if his bridge proved only strong 
enough to carry himself over, and gave way under his 
flying followers — well, it was a misfortune which 
could have been averted if every one had taken as 
much care of himself as he had done. When 
well beyond pursuit, he would hold out a helping 
hand to the survivors, and received therefor as much 
gratitude as on the other occasions he received abuse. 
Which filled him with good-natured amusement, the 
one being as undeserved as the other. 

His last enterprise, the Ma rut Campaign, thanks 
to a happy constellation of circumstances, promised 
an unusual degree of success, and his enthusiasm 
on the subject was not the less real because he kept 
hidden his usual reserve for unforeseen possibili- 
ties. According to the Rajah's invitation, he repaired 
early on the second day after their momentous con- 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



154 THE NATIVE BORN 

versation to the patace. He was received there by 
an old servant, who told him that Nehal Sing^h had 
gone out riding before sunrise, but was expected 
to return shortly. 

"The Rajah Sahib remembers my coming?" Trav- 
ers asked. 

"Yes, Sahib. The Rajah Sahib commanded that the 
palace should be at the Sahib's disposal while he waits." 

The idea suited Travers excellently. He shook 
himself free from the obsequious native, who 
showed very clearly that he would have preferred 
to have kept on a watchful attendance, and began 
a languid, indifferent examination of the labyrinth- 
like passages and deserted halls. But the languid- 
ness and indifference were only masks which be 
chose to assume when too great interest would 
have thwarted his own schemes. In reality there 
was not a jewel or ornament which he did not no- 
tice and appraise at the correct value. The immen- 
sity of the palace's dimensions and its intricate plan 
made it impossible to obtain a complete survey in 
so short a time, but at the end of half an hour 
Travers' original theory was confirmed. Here was 
a power of wealth lying idle, waiting, as it seemed 
to his natural egoism, for his hands to put it into 
action. 

In his imagination he saw the jeweled pillars dis- 
mantled and the inlaid gold and silver changed into the 
hard money necessary for his campaign — not without 
regret. The man of taste suffered not a little at the 
changed picture, and since there was no immediate call 
upon his activities, he allowed the man of taste to pre- 
dominate over the specuUtor. But the punishment for 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE WHITE HAND 155 

those who serve God and mammon is inevitable. There 
comes the moment when the worshiper of mammon 
hears the voice of God calling him, be it through a 
beautiful woman, a beautiful poem, a beautiful sculp- 
ture, or a simple child, and the soul, God-given, 
struggles against the bonds that have been laid 
upon it. 

So it was with Travers as he stood there in the 
Throne Room, gazing thoughtfully out over the gar- 
dens to the ornate towers of the temple. He was fully- 
conscious of the dual nature in him, and it gave him a 
sort of painful pleasure to allow the idealistic side a 
moment's supremacy, to imagine himself throwing up 
his plans, and leaving so much loveliness and peace un- 
disturbed. It was a mere game which he played with 
his own emotions, for it was no longer m his power to 
throw up an3rthing upon which he had set his mind. 
Without knowing it, he had become the slave of his 
own will, a headlong, ruthless will, which saw nothing 
but the goal, and to whom the lives and happiness of 
others were no more than obstacles to be thrown in- 
differently on one side. Yet in this short interval, 
when that will lay inactively in abeyance, he suffered. 

He had lost Lois, amoi^ other things, and the loss 
stung both sides of him. He wanted her because he 
loved her, and because she had become necessary to 
his plans. He had wanted her, and in spite 
of every effort she had seemed to pass out 
of his reach. Seemed! As he stood there with 
folded arms, watching the sunlight broaden over 
the peaceful terraces, it pleased his fancy to imagine 
that the loss was real and definite, and that he stood 
willingly on one side, resigning himself to the de- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



156 THE NATIVE BORN 

cree that ordained her happiness. With a stab- 
bing pain came back the memory of their brief in- 
terview together. He had talked of praying for 
her future. Had he been wholly sincere or, as now, 
only so far as a man is who concentrates his tem- 
porary interest upon some sport, only to forget it 
as soon as it is over? Possibly, nay, certainly. He 
did not believe in himself — not, at least, in the gen- 
erous, self-sacrificing side. He called that sort of 
thing in other people "pose" and in himself a neces- 
sary relaxation. For it was one of his maxims that 
a man may act as heartlessly as he likes, but to be 
successful he must never let himself grow heartless. 
From the moment that he ceases to be capable of 
feeling, he loses touch with the thoughts and sensi- 
biUties of others. And his power of feeling "with" 
others was one of Travers' chief business assets. 

It is dangerous, however, to play with emotions 
that are never to be allowed an active influence. 
They have a trick of growing by leaps and bounds, 
and before the will has time to realize that an en- 
emy is at its gates, to fling their whole force against 
the citadel and overwhelm the dazed defenses. How 
near Archibald Travers came that morning to yield- 
ing to himself he never knew. Lois' happy, thank- 
ful face hovered constantly before his eyes. He 
felt very tender toward her. He felt that he should 
like to be able to think of her in the keeping of a 
good man — like Stafford — who, if pig-headed and 
bigoted, was yet calculated to stick to a woman 
and make her happy. Looking straight at himself 
and his past, Travers could not be sure that he 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE WHITE HAND 157 

would stick to any one. Also there was the Rajah, 
optimistic, and trusting, so much so that it left an un- 
pleasant taste in the mouth to fool him. 

But above all else, there was Lob. Lois recurred to 
him constantly, overshadowing; every other considera- 
tion. He thought of her in all her aspects : Lois, the 
enterprising, the energetic, plucky, daredevil comrade; 
Lois, the ever-ready, untiring, uncomplaining partner 
in the hunt, on the tennis-court, in the ball-room ; Lois, 
the woman, with her gentle charm, her tenderness, her 
frankness, her truth. He bit his lip, turning away from 
the sunshine with knitted brows and fierce eyes. 
No, it is no light matter to trifle with the heart, even 
if it is only one's own. Nor is it wise for a man, 
set on a. cool, calculating task of self-advancement, 
to call up waters from his hidden wells of tender- 
ness, or to allow a nature strangely susceptible (as 
even the worst natures are) to the appeal of the 
good and beautiful to have full play, if only for a 
brief hour. Another five minutes undisturbed in 
that splendid hall, with God's divine world before 
him and the highest, purest art of man about him, 
and Travcrs might never have waited to meet Nehal 
Singh. He might have gone thence, and taken his 
schemes and plans and ambitions to another sphere 
of activity. Five minutes I One second is enough 
to change a dozen destinies. A straw divides an 
act of heroism from an act of cowardice. 

Archibald Travers turned. He had heard no 
sound and yet he was certain that he was no longer 
atone, that some one stood behind him and was 
watching him. For a minute he remained motion- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



iS8 THE NATIVE BORN 

less; the bright sunlight bad dazzled him and he 
could only see the shadows in which the back of 
the chamber was enveloped. Yet the conscious- 
neas of another presence continued, and when sud- 
denly a shadow freed itself from the rest and came 
toward him, he started less with surprise than with 
a reasonless, nameless alarm. It was a woman's 
figure which came down toward the golden patch 
of light in which he stood. He could not see her 
face for it was completely shrouded in a long orien- 
tal veil, but the bowed shoulders, the slow, unsteady 
step indicated an advanced age or an overpowering 
physical weakness. She came on without hesita- 
tion, passing so close to Travers that she brushed 
his arm, and reached the hangings before the win- 
dow. There she paused. Travers passed his hand 
quickly before his eyes. Her movements had been 
so quiet, so blindly indifferent to his presence that 
he could not for the moment free himself from the 
fancy that he was in the power of an hallucination. 
Then she lifted her hand, drawing the curtain back, 
and he uttered an involuntary, half-smothered ex- 
clamation. The hand was thin, claw-like, white as 
though no drop of blood flowed beneath the lifeless 
skin, and on the fourth finger he saw a plain band 
of gold. 

"Who are you?" Travers demanded. The ques- 
tion had left his tips almost without his knowledge. 
She turned and looked at him, and in spite of the 
veil he felt the full intensity of a gaze which seemed 
to be seeking his very soul. How long they stood 
there watching each other in breathless silence 
Travers did not know. Nor did he know why this 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE WHITE HAND 159 

strange, powerless figure filled him with a sicken- 
ing repulsion and held him paralyzed so that he could 
only wait in passive, motionless expectation. Sudden- 
ly the hand sank to her side and he shook himself as 
though he had been awakened from a nightmare. 

"Who arc you?" he repeated firmly. 

"You are not the one I seek," she answered. 
"Why do you keep me from him? He is mine — my 
very own. Where is he? I am always seeking for 
him — but he is like the shadows — he vanishes — 
with the sunshine. In my dreams I see him — " Her 
voice, thin and low-pitched, died into silence. She 
seemed to have shrunk together; she swayed as 
though she would have fallen, and Travers took 
an involuntary step toward her. 

"You speak English — perfect English," he said. 
"Who are you? Whom do you seek? Perhaps I 
can help you — ?" His words electrified her. She 
caught his arm in a grip of iron and drew close to 
him so that her hot, quickly drawn breath fanned his 
cheek. 

"Help me?" she whispered. "Who can help me? 
Don't you know that I am dead?" 

Travers shuddered ; he tried to free himself from 
the clutch of the white, bloodless hand, but she 
dung to him desperately, despairingly, while her voira 
rose in an agonized crescendo. 

"Don't you know that I am deadf" 

Footsteps came hurrying down the corridor. A 
sudden impulse, a reawakening of the spirit of action 
and enterprise, which had carried him through his life, 
bade him grasp her band and drag from it the loosely 
fittii^E ring. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



i6o THE NATIVE BORN 

"I will see you again — dead or living', I will help 
you," he said. 

The next instant he drew quickly back. A white- 
bearded native servant had entered and was mov- 
ing swiftly with cat-like stealth toward the veiled figure 
by the window. He was breathless, as though with 
hard running, and seemed oblivious of Travers' pres- 
ence until, with an exclamation of relief, he had grasped 
the unresisting figure by the wrist. Then he turned, 
salaaming profoundly, 

"May the Lord Sahib forgive hts servant!" he 
said with a humility which in Travers' ears rang 
curiously ironical. "The woman is possessed of a 
devil who speaketh lies out of her mouth. It would 
cost thy servant dear if she were found with the 
Lord Sahib." 

Travers assumed an air of indifference. 

"Who is she?" he asked carelessly. 

"My wife. Lord Sahib. The devil has possessed her 
these many years." 

Travers caught the flash of the cunning, sus- 
picious eyes and knew that the man had lied. But 
he said nothing, dismissing him and his captive 
with a gesture. Only for an instant, governed by 
an irresistible instinct, he glanced over his shoulder. 
He saw then that the woman's head was turned to- 
ward him and that one white hand was raised as 
though in mingled appeal and imperative command. 
Travers nodded almost inperceptibly and she dis- 
appeared into the shadows of the corridor. 

For some minutes Travers remained motionless, 
then, as though nothing unusual had happened, he 
resumed his critical survey of the precious stones 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE WHITE HAND i6i 

with which the pillars were adorned, apparently 
so absorbed that he did not notice the sound of 
approaching footsteps. Only when he was called 
by name did he look up with a start of pleased sur- 
prise. 

"Ah, Your Highness I" he exclaimed. 

The young prince stood in the curtained door- 
way, dressed as though he had just returned from 
riding. He was dusty and travel-stained and, in 
spite of his energetic, upright bearing, he looked 
exhausted. There were heavy lines under the keen 
eyes, and Travers noticed for the first time that his 
cheeks were slightly hollow, giving his whole ap- 
pearance an air of haggard weariness. He lifted 
his hand in return to Travers' salute, and came 
forward with a welcoming smile. 

"My servants told me I should find you here," 
he said. "I hope the time of waiting has not been 
too long?" 

"Indeed, no!" Travers returned, as he descended 
the throne steps. "I have been amusing myself 
right royally. You have surely the most perfect 
collection of stones in India." 

"They are well enough," Nehal answered, his 
smile deepening. "Have you been calculating how 
many rupees they will bring in?" 

The remark, which at another time would have 
called a frank laugh of agreement from Travers, 
caused him instead a faint feeling of annoyance. 

"Perhaps I have," he said, not without a sugges- 
tion of bitterness, "but I am still sufficiently alive 
to beauty to be able to appreciate it apart from its 
intrinsic value." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



i63 THE NATIVE BORN 

Nehal Singh motioned bitn to take bis seat at the 
low table which a servant had at that moment 
brought in. 

"Forgive me," he said. "I fear my remark hurt 
you. I thought as a business man you had only one 
standpoint from whicb you judged — ^you told me 
as much." 

"Yes, and I told you the truth," Travcrs said, 
after a moment, in which be bent frowningly over 
his cup of coffee. "I am a business man. Rajah, 
and for a business man who wants to make any 
sort of success of his life there must be only one 
standpoint. If he has another side to his nature, as 
I have — the purely artistic and emotional side — he 
must crush it out of sight, if not out of existence, 
as I do." He looked up with a sudden return of 
bis old tranquil humor. "You must not count it 
as anything if the beauty of these surroundings 
for a moment lifted the unpractical side of me up- 
permost," he said, laughing. "It was purely fro 
tern., and I am once more my normal, hard-headed 
self, at your disposal, Rajah." 

Nehal Singh nodded absently. 

"I believe what you say is true," he said. "A 
man who goes out into the world and enters into 
her conflicts must have only one side — the strong, 
hard, practical side; otherwise he can do nothing, 
neither for himself nor others. The idea came to 
me already the other night after I left you." 

"Indeed?" Travers murmured. "What made you 
think of that. Rajah?" 

Nehal gave a gesture which seemed to put the 
question to one side. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE WHITE HAND 163 

"Something I heard — saw," he said. "It does 
not matter. It made me hesitate. That is all." 

"Hesitate?" 

"To enter into the conflict. I felt for the moment 
that I was not lit — ^that it would overwhelm me. 
I had made a picture of the world, a picture which 
after all might not be the true one. I did not be- 
lieve that I could bear the reality." 

He bent his head wearily on his hand, and there 
followed an instant's silence in which Travcrs 
thoughtfully studied his companion. He was won- 
dering what cross-current of influence had fiowed 
into the stream on which he meant to sweep the 
prince toward his purpose. Any idea of relinquish- 
ing his plans had evaporated ; the very suggestion 
of another influence having been sufficient to put 
him on his mettle and call to life the full energy 
of bis headstrong ambition. He had the tact, how- 
ever, to remain silent, and to leave Nehal's train 
of thought uninterrupted. And this required con- 
siderable patience and self-control, for the Rajah 
seemed to forget his existence, and sat staring va- 
cantly in front of htm, bis head still resting on his 
hand. 

"Yes," he went on suddenly, but without chang- 
ing his position, "that is what I felt two nights ago. 
The practical, hard side of me seemed lacking. I 
felt that I was a dreamer, like the rest of my un- 
fortunate race, and that to enter into battle with 
the world, as you suggested, could only bring mis- 
fortune. I did not realize then that, at whatever cost, 
it was my daty." 

"Duty?" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



i64 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Yes. A dreamer has no right to his dreams, be 
they ever so beautiful, unless he changes them into 
substance. In my dreams I have loved the world 
and my fellow-creatures. But what does that avail 
me if I do nothing for the suffering and sorrow 
with which the world is filled? I must go out and 
help. I must put my whole wealth and strength to 
the task, even if I lose thereby my peace. I must 
'sell all that I have,' Is not that the advice your 
Great Teacher gave to the young man seeking to do 
his duty ?" 

Travers started, and then smiled. 

"Is there anything you do not know or have not 
read. Rajah?" he said, with an amused admiration. 

"I have read a great deal," was the earnest an- 
swer, "but it seems to me as though I had known 
nothing until yesterday. Yesterday, in an hour, a 
new world was revealed to me." He leaned forward, 
extending his hand. "I ask you as a man of hon- 
or," he said, "before you show me your plans, be- 
fore I definitely engage myself in this great work, 
tell me, do you believe that it will be for my peo- 
ple, what you say ? Will it lift them from their misery ; 
will it make them prosperous and happy?" 

Travers took the hand in his own. For a mo- 
ment he studied it intently, curiously, as though 
it had been the sole topic of their conversation. 
Then his eyes met those of the Rajah with unflinch- 
ing calm and decision. 

"As far as I can be sure of anything, it will do 
(or your country all that I have said," he answered. 
And therein he was sincere — as sincere, that is, as 
a man can be whose retreat is already secured. 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE WHITE HAND 165 

With a sigh of relief Nehal Singh drew the table 
closer. 

"Show me your plana," he said 

For three uninterrupted hours the two men sat 
over the papers which Travers had brought. Now 
and again he lifted his head and glanced toward 
the doorway through which the strange apparition 
had disappeared, half expecting to see once more 
the white extended hand, half believing that he had 
been the victim of a delusion, a fantasy bom of 
the mysterious veil with which the whole palace seemed 
shrouded. Then he glanced at the ring which sparkled 
on his own finger, and he knew that it was no delusion, 
but that a comer of the veil lay perhaps within his 
grasp. 



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CHAPTER XIH 

TKE lOAD CUCAS 

THE English colony heard of the Rajah's project 
with mingled feelings of amusement and anxiety. 
As Colonel Carmichael expressed it, it would have 
been safer to have stirred up a hornet's nest than to 
attempt any vital reform in the native quarters; 
and he was firmly convinced that the inhabitants 
of the Bazaar would cling to their dirt and squalor 
with the same tenacity with which they clung to 
their religion. When the first batch of native work- 
ers, under the direction of a European overseer, set 
out on the task of constructing new and sanitary 
quarters half a mile outside Marut, he announced 
that it was no more than the calm before the storm, 
and kept a weather eye open for trouble. But, in 
cpite of these gloomy prognostications, the work 
proceeded calmly and steadily on its way. The 
new dwellings were well constructed, broad, clean 
thoroughfares taking the place of the narrow, dirty 
passages which had run like an unwholesome laby- 
rinth through the old Bazaar. Water in abundance 
was laid on from the river. Natives of superior 
caste, who had proved their capacity for order, were 
put in charge of the different blocks and made re- 
sponsible for their condition. Of more value than 
ajl this was the energy and willingness with which 
i66 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE ROAD CLEAR 167 

the people entered into the project. More workers 
offered themselves than were required, and could 
only be comforted with the assurance that very 
soon a new enterprise would be set on loot in which 
they, too, would find occupation. 

A month after the first stone had been laid, Staf- 
ford paid a visit of inspection in company with the 
Rajah and Travers. On his way back be passed 
the Carys' bungalow, and seeing Beatrice on the 
verandah, he had ridden up, as be said, to make his 
salaams. Very little persuasion tempted him into 
the cool, shady drawing-room. He knew that Lois 
would be up at the club, and, faute de mieux, Bea- 
trice's company was something to be appreciated 
after a hot and exhausting afternoon. For a rather 
curious friendship had sprung up between these 
two. They had nothing in common. His stiffly 
honest and orthodox character was qil to the water 
of her outspoken indifference to the usual codes and 
morals of ordinary society. And yet he liked her, 
and, strangely enough, he never found that her 
supercilious criticisms and daring opinions jarred 
on him. Perhaps it was his honesty which rec- 
ognized the honesty in her, just as, on the reverse side, 
the sanctimonious Philistinisms of Maud Berry left him 
glowing with irritation because his instincts told him 
that they were not even sincere. 

On this particular afternoon he was more than 
usually glad to have a few minutes' quiet chat with 
Beatrice. That which he had seen and heard on 
his four hours* ride had stirred to life a sudden 
doubt in himself and in his hitherto 6rmly rooted 
principles, and, like a great many men, he felt that 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



i6S THE NATIVE BORN 

he could only regain a clear outlook by an ex- 
change of ideas with some second person. 

"You know my standpoint pretty well by now," 
he said, as, seated in a comfortable lounge chair, 
he watched Beatrice busy over some patterns which 
she had just received from London. "It isn't your 
standpoint, of course, and no doubt you would be 
fully in your right to say, 'I told you so,' when I 
confess that I am beginning to waver." 

"I never say, 'I told you so,' " she returned, smil- 
ing. "That is the war-cry of those accustomed to 
few triumphs." 

"Not that by wavering I mean that I am coming 
round to your opinions," he went on. "On the con- 
trary, nothing on this earth will shake my theory 
that a mingling of races is an impossibiHty. They 
must and will, with few exceptions, remain sep- 
arate to all eternity, and one or the other must have 
the upper hand if there is to be any law or order. 
No, it's not that. It's my self-satisfaction that is 
beginning to waver," 

"You must be more explicit," Beatrice observed. 

"I mean, men like myself — in fact, most English- 
men — are pretty well convinced, even when they 
have the rare tact of keeping it to themselves, that 
they are the salt of the earth. They may be, as a 
whole, but there are exceptions all round, which 
we are inclined to overlook because of the foregone 
conclusion. It has struck me lately that there are 
some of us — ^wcll, not up to the mark." 

"Has this revelation come to you by force of 
contrast ?" she asked. "Haven't you been out with the 
Rajah?" 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE ROAD CLEAR 169 

He looked at her with the pleasure of a man who 
has been saved the bother of going into explana- 
tory details. 

"Yes, I have," he admitted, "and you are not far 
wrong when you talk about the force of contrast. 
You know what I thought of the Rajah. There 
are any amount of good-looking native princes with 
nice surface manners — that sort of thing wouldn't 
impress me. But this man has more than good 
looks and manners. He is a bom leader. You 
should have seen him this afternoon. There wasn't 
a thing he overlooked or forgot. Every detail was 
at his fingers* ends, and he has a fire, an energy, 
an idealistic belief in himself and in the whole world 
which fairly sweeps you off your feet. It did me. 
I believe it did the Colonel, and I know it did the 
natives. The dust wasn't low enough for them. And 
it wasn't face worship, either. It came straight 
from the heart; I could see that they were ready 
to die for him on the spot, at his mere word." 

"What a power!" Beatrice murmured. She had 
stopped turning over the patterns and was leaning 
back in her chair, her eyes fixed thoughtfully in 
front of her. 

"Yes, it is a power," he echoed emphatically, "and 
I wish to goodness we had more men like him on 
our side. We English take things too lightly — most 
of us. And in India it is not safe to take things 
lightly." 

He saw that she was about to make some obser- 
vation, but at that moment Mrs. Cary entered. She 
had evidently been out in the garden, for she had 
a bunch of freshly cut flowers in her hand and a girlish 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



i;^ THE NATIVE BORN 

muslin hat shaded the fet cheeks flushed witfi the un- 
usual exertioa 

"Ah, there you are, Captain Stafford!" she said, 
extending her disengaged band. "Mr. Travers said 
he was sure you had dropped in, and wouldn't be- 
lieve it when I told him that I had heard and seen 
nothing of you. There, come in, Mr. Travers. It's 
all right." 

She smiled at Stafford with a playful significance 
that seemed to indicate an unspoken comprehen- 
sion of the situation, but Stafford did not smile 
back. Like a great many worthy and honest peo- 
ple, he was not gifted with a sense of humor, and the 
ridiculous, especially if it took a human form, was his 
abomination. Consequently he disliked Mrs. Cary, 
though not for the reason which made her unpopular 
in other quarters. 

Travers followed almost immediately on her in- 
vitation, like Stafford, bearing the marks of a hard 
day's work on his unusually pale face. 

"I expect Stafford has told you what a time we've 
been having," he said, in response to Beatrice's 
greeting. "It's no joke to have aroused an energy 
like the Rajah's, and I can see myself worked to a 
shadow. Please forgive my get-up, Miss Cary, but 
this isn't an official call. I only wanted to fetch 
Stafford." 

"I'm afraid you can't," Mrs. Cary put in. "We 
have engaged the poor exhausted man to tea, and 
you are strictly forbidden to worry him with your 
tiresome business. You can stop, too, if you prom- 
ise not to bother." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE ROAD CLEAR 171 

Travers, who had as a rule an equally amiable 
smile for every one, remained unexpectedly serious. 

"I am awfully sorry," he said, hesitating. "Per- 
haps it would do another time." 

"What is it about?" Sufford asked. ".Will it 
take long?" 

"As far as I am concerned, only a few minutes." 

There was a significance in the tone of Travers' 
answer which passed unnoticed. Staflford rose laz- 
ily to his feet. 

"Perhaps you'll ^ve us the run of your garden 
for just so long, Mrs. Cary?" he said. "I'm not go- 
ing to let Travers cheat me out of my promised 
cup of tea. Come on, my dear fellow. I'm ready 
for the worst." 

The two men went down the verandah steps, and 
Mrs. Cary and her daughter remained alone. Bea- 
trice returned at once to her contemplation of the 
fashion-plates, her attitude enforcing silence upon 
the cider woman, who stood by the round polished 
table nervously arranging the flowers. Evidently 
she had something to say, but for once had not the 
courage to say it At last, with one of those de- 
termined gestures with which irresolute people 
strive to stiffen their wavering wills, she pushed 
the flowers on one side, and came and sat directly 
opposite Beatrice. 

"Have you got a few minutes to spare?" ahe 
asked. 

Beatrice looked up, and put the papers a5id& 

"As many as you like." 

Mrs. Cary's eyes sank beneath the direct gaze. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



172 THE NATIVE BORN 

and she began to play with the rings that adorned 
her fat fingers. 

"I'm afraid you'll be angty," she said. "If it 
wasn't for my duty as a mother, I should let you go 
your own way— ^s it is, I must just risk it." 

"There is no risk," Beatrice returned gravely. 
"Where duty is concerned, I am all consideration." 

"It's about your intimacy with His Highness," 
Mrs. Cary went on. "I can't help thinking it has 
gone too far." 

"In what way?" 

"You ride out with him every morning." 

"You said nothing a month ago— when I went 
out for the first time." 

"It was the first time. And I didn't know people 
would talk." 

"Do they talk?" 

"Yes. Mrs. Berry told mc only this afternoon 
that she thought it most infra dig. She told me as 
a friend — " 

Beatrice laughed. 

"Mrs. Berry as a friend is a new departure." 

"Never mind. There was something in what she 
said. She told me it spoiled your chances — with 
others." 

"I dare say she told you that it is very immoral 
for me to ride out with Captain Stafford?" 

Mrs. Cary threw up her head. 

"I don't take any notice of that sort of thing. 
That is only her cattishness, because she wants 
Stafford for Maud." 

"You don't mind about Captain Stafford, then?" 

"Goodness, no! Why should I? A man wants 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE ROAD CLEAR 173 

to know a girl before — well, before he asks her. I 
don't see anything in that. But this business with 
the Rajah is quite different. Of course, I know 
you are only amusing yourself, but still it lowers 
your value to be seen so much with a colored man," 

"Why should you mind? Surely you can see 
for yourself that Captain Stafford is to all intents 
and purposes engaged to Lois?" 

"Rubbish! She thinks so, but it's a lukewarm 
business which could easily be brought to nothing 
— if you tried. And besides, I don't want you 
talked about. We have been talked about quite 
enough." 

"Why should people talk?" exclaimed Beatrice, 
with a sudden change in tone. "What harm do I 
do? What do they suppose goes on between us?" 

Mrs. Cary shrugged her shoulders. 

"I'm sure I don't know," she said indifferently. 

Beatrice sat back in her chair, for a moment si- 
lent. A faint smile moved the comers of her tine 
mouth. 

"I fancy our conversation, if they heard it, would 
startle the unbearable Marut scandal-mongers," she 
said. "What do you say to a Bible-class on horse- 
back r 

Mrs. Gary's small round eyes opened wide. 

"A Bible-class?" she repeated suspiciously. 

Beatrice nodded. 

"Yes. I have been teaching him the rudiments 
of Christianity. It seems you must have neglected 
my education in that respect, for I have had to burn 
a good deal of midnight oil to keep pace with the 
demand upon my knowledge. I tell him it as a 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



174 THE NATIVE BORN 

story, and he reads it himself afterward. We are half- 
way through St. John. What are you laughing at?" 

The tone of intense irritation pulled Mrs. Cary 
up short in the midst of a loud fit of laughter. 

"I'm sorry, my dear," she apologized, "but you 
really must admit it's rather funny," 

"What is rather funny?" 

"Oh, well, you, you know. Fancy you as a mis- 
sionary! I must tell Mrs. Berry. It will amuse 
her, and — " 

She stopped again, as though she had inadvert- 
ently trodden on the tail of a scorpion. She had 
seen Beatrice angry, but not as now. There was 
something not unlike desperation in the eyes that 
were suddenly turned on her, 

"You won't tell Mrs, Berry, mother. You will 
never breathe a word to a single soul of what I 
have told you. It was very absurd of me to say 
anything — I don't know what made me. I might 
have known that you would not understand — but some- 
times I forget that 'mother' is not a synonym for every- 
thing." 

Mrs. Cary smarted under what she felt to be an 
unjust and uncalled-for attack. 

"I don't see what I have done now," she pro- 
tested indignantly. "What is there to understand 
that I haven't understood, pray?" 

Her daughter got up as though she couM no 
long:er bear to remain still, and began to walk rest- 
lessly about the room. 

"Never mind," she said. "That doesn't matter. 
What does matter is that I will not have the Rajah 
made a butt for the Station's witticisms. You can 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE ROAD CLEAR 175 

say what you like about me — I don't care in the 
least — ^but you will leave him alone." 

"Dear me, what are you so annoyed about?" Mrs. 
Cary inquired, with irritating solicitude. "How 
was I to know you were seriously contemplating 
the Rajah's conversion? I'm sure it's very nice of 
you. Child, don't pull all those roses to pieces 1" 

Beatrice dropped the flowers impatiently. 

"It's more likely that he will convert me," she 
muttered, but the remark fell on unheeding ears. 

"I wish you would let me tell Mrs. Berry about 
it," Mrs. Cary went on. "It might make quite a nice 
impression, and stop her saying disagreeable things. 
Of course, if your intimacy with His Highness was due 
to your desire to bring him to a nice Christian state, it 
would be quite excusable. I might even ask Mr. Berry 
for some of those tracts he is always distributing 
among the natives." 

It was Beatrice's turn to laugh. Her laugh had 
a disagreeable ring. 

"For the Rajah? I wonder how he would recon- 
cile them with all I have been telling him about 
love, and pity, and tolerance? Besides, niy dear 
mother, diplomatist as you are, don't you see that 
it wouldn't have the least effect? Do you think the 
most kindly thinking person in this Station would 
believe for an instant that / would ever convert 
any one? Of course I should be seen through at 
once. They would say — and perfectly correctly, 
too^that I was just fooling the Rajah for my own 
purposes." 

"What are your purposes?" Mrs. Cary demanded. 

Beatrict raised her eyebrows. 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



176 THE NATIVE BORN 

"You knew them a month ago." 

"Oh, yes ; then it was for Mr. Travers' sakt. But 
now — " 

"Now things are the same as they were then. I — 
I can't leave off what I have begun." 

She had gone over to the piano and, opening it, 
sat down and began to play a few disjointed bars. 
Mrs, Gary, who watched the lovely face with what 
is sometimes called a mother's pride, and which is 
sometimes no more than the satisfaction of a mer- 
chant with salable goods, saw somethii^ which made 
her sit bolt upright in her comfortable chair. A tear 
rolled down the smooth cheek turned toward her — a 
sin^e tear, which splashed on the white hand resting 
on the keys. That was all, but it was enough. With 
a jii^le of gold bracelets and a rustle of silk, Mrs. Cary 
struggled to her feet and came and stood by her daugh- 
ter, her heavy hand clasping her by the shoulder. 

"Beaty!" she said stupidly. "Are you— crying?" 

Beatrice turned on the music-stool and looked 
her mother calmly in the face. There was not a trace 
of emotion in the clear, steady eyes. 

"I — crying?" she said, "What should have made 
you think that? Have you ever seen me cry?" 

"No, never. I couldn't understand. You are all 
right?" 

"Perfectly all right, thank you. Hadn't you bet- 
ter see about the tea?" 

Mrs. Cary heaved a sigh of relief and sattsfac* 
tion. 

"Of course. How thoughtful you can be, my 
dear! The gentlemen may be back any moment." 

She sailed heavily across the room, on her way 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE ROAD CLEAR 177 

passing the glass doors which opened on to the 
verandah. 

"Why!" she exclaimed, stopping short, "if that 
isn't Captain Stafford mounting his horse ! Look, 
Beaty ! And he hasn't even come to say good-by." 

Beatrice turned indifferently. 

"I expect he has some important business — ** she 
began, and then, as her eyes fell on the man outside 
swinging himself up into the saddle, she stopped 
and rose abruptly to her feet- "I have never seen 
any one look like that before !" she said, under her 
breath. "He looks — awful." 

Mrs, Cary nodded. 

"As though he had seen a ghost," she supple- 
mented unsteadily. "What can have happened?" 

The horse's head was jerked around to the com- 
pound gates. Amidst a clatter of hoofs and in a 
cloud of dust Stafford galloped out of sight, not 
once turning to glance in their direction. The two 
women stood and stared at each other, even Bea- 
trice for the moment shaken out of her usual self- 
control by what she had seen. They had no time 
to make any further observations, for almost im- 
mediately Travers came up the steps, his sun-hel- 
met in his hand. Whatever had happened, he at 
least seemed unmoved. The exceptional pallor of 
his face had given place to the old healthy glow. 

"I have come to drink Stafford's share of the tea 
as well as my own," he said cheerily. "You see, 
Mrs. Cary, in spite of your strict injunctions, I have 
sent the poor fellow flying off on a fresh business 
matter. He asked me to excuse him, as he was in 
a great hurry." 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



178 THE NATIVE BORN 

"So it seems t" Mrs, Cary observed, rather tartly. 
"He might at least have stayed to say good-by." 

"Oh, well, you know what an impulsive creature 
He is," Travers apolog:ized. "Besides, I believe he 
means to drop tn later on. Please don't pimish me, 
Mrs. Cary, for his delinquencies." 

The suggestion that Stafford might resume his 
interrupted visit later mollified Mrs. Cary at once, 

"No, you shan't suffer," she assured him, with 
fat motherliness. "I will go and tell the servants 
about tea at once." 

The minute she was out of the room Travers 
came over to Beatrice's side. A slight change had 
taken place in his expression. It reminded her in- 
voluntarily of that night in the dog-cart when for 
an instant bis passions had forced htm to drop the 
mask. 

"You and I have every reason to congratulate 
each other," he said, in a low voice. "We can now 
go ahead and win. The road is clear for us both." 

"What do you mean — what have you done?" 

"Nothing," he answered, as Mrs. Cary reentered. 
"You will know in a day or two. And then — well, 
the game will be in our hands. Miss Cary." 

Mrs. Gary, who had caught the last remark, 
looked quickly and suspiciously from one to the 
other. 

"What's that you are talking about?" she de- 
manded. "What game is in your hands, Betty?" 

Travers smiled frankly. 

"Miss Gary and I are working out a bridge prob- 
lem," he explained. "We have just discovered a 
solution to a difficulty. That's all." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE ROAD CLEAR 179 

His smile deepened as he glanced across at Bea- 
trice, but there was no response on her grave face. 
She half turned away from him, and for the first 
time he thought that the climate was telling on her. 
She looked white and harassed. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER XIV 

IN WHICH MANY THINGS ARE BKOKEH 

"I CANT think what is making CapUin Suf- 
ford so late," Lois said to Mrs. Carmichael, who 
was, as usual, knitting at some unrecognizable gar- 
ment destined for a far-off London slum. "I won- 
der if he has forgotten that to-day is the tourna- 
ment, and that he promised to fetch me." 

"I hardly think he has forgotten the tournament," 
Travers remarked carelessly, "He was speaking 
about it to Miss Cary this morning. I expect he 
will be around soon — and if he fails, will I do in- 
stead r 

He looked at her with such a pleasant frankness 
in his eyes that any awkwardness she might have 
felt became impossible, and she could only smile 
back at him, grateful for the unchanged friendship 
which he had retained for her. 

"Of course you will do !" she said gaily. "But I 
must give him a few minutes' grace. It has only 
just struck four o'clock." 

The Colonel looked around. He had come in 
five minutes before, hot and tired from a long ride 
of inspection, and his family, knowing his small pe- 
culiarities, had allowed him to get over bis first ex- 
haustion undisturbed. 

"I shouldn't wait too long, little girl," he said, 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MANY THINGS ARE BROKEN l8i 

smiling kindly. "I fancy Stafford is not at all up to 
the mark. I told him to take a day off if he wanted 
it." 

"Why, when did you see him ?" his wife asked. 

"This morning, of course, at parade. He strucfi: 
me then as being rather peculiar." 

"Ill ?" Lois exclaimed with some alarm. She put her 
racquet on the table and came and slipped her hand 
through the Colonel's arm. "You don't think he is ill ?" 
she a^ed earnestly. 

Colonel Carmichael shook his head. 

"No," he said, "not exactly ill." He laid his hand 
gently upon hers, so that she could not draw it back. 
"Let us go outside and see if he is coming," he went 
on. 

The old man — for sorrow and physical weakness 
had made him older than his years — led the way 
on to the verandah, still holding Xois' hand in his 
own. He could not have explained the indefinable 
force which drove him out of his wife's presence. 
His ear shrank from her hard, matter-of-fact voice 
and undisturbed optimism. She who had never 
had any mood but the one energetic and untirable 
one, had no comprehension for the changing shades 
of his temper — would, indeed, have rather scorned 
the necessity of understanding them. She did not 
believe in what she called "vapors," and when they ven- 
tured to cross her path she swept them away again — 
or thought she did — with a none too sparing brush. 

Unfortunately, there are some characters who can 
not overcome depression, be it reasonable or unreason- 
able, simply because some one else happens to be cheer- 
ful. The source of their melancholy lies too deep, and 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



i82 THE NATIVE BORN 

the more hidden it is, the more inexplicable, the harder 
it is to be overcome. It is as though a chord in. their 
temperament is hnked to the future, and vibrates with 
painful presentiment before that which is to come. 
Colonel Carmichael was one of these so-called sensitive 
and moody people — quite unknown to himself. When 
the cloud hung heavily over his head, he said it was 
his liver or the heat, and took his cure in the form 
of solitude, thus escaping his wife's pitiless con- 
demnation. And on this afternoon, yielding to his 
instinct, he sought to be alone with Lois. Lois 
never disturbed him or jarred on his worn-out nerves. 
In spite of her eneigy and vigcr, there was a side 
of her nature which responded absolutely to his 
own, and with her he could always be sure of a 
sympathetic silence, or, what was still more, a gentle 
sadness which helped him more than any overflow 
of strident high spirits. 

For some little time they stood together arm-in- 
arm, looking over the garden. The excuse that 
they were watching for Stafford was no more than 
an excuse, for from their position the road was 
completely hidden by the high wall with which the 
whole compound was surrounded. Through the 
foliage of the trees the outline of the old bungalow 
was faintly visible, and thither their earnest con- 
templation was directed. For both of them it was 
something more than a ruin, something more than 
a relic out of the tragic past. It had become, above 
all for the Colonel, a part of their lives, a piece of 
inanimate destiny to which they felt themselves 
tied by all the bonds of possession. It was theirs, 
and they in turn were possessed by the influence it 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MANY THINGS ARE BROKEN 183 

exercised over their lives. Their dear ones had died 
■within its walls, and some intuition, feeling blind- 
ly through the lightless passages of the future, told 
them that its history was not yet ended. 

Colonel Carmichael bent down and looked into 
iLois* dark face. He had grown to love her as his 
own child, and the desire to protect and guard her 
from all misfortune was the one strong link that 
held him in the world. Life as life had disap- 
pointed him, not because he had made a failure out 
of it, but because success was not what he had sup- 
posed it to be. It is very Hkely that his subsequent 
indifference to existence, coupled with a far from 
robust constitution, would have long since cut short 
his earthly career had it not been for Lois. She 
held him fast. He flattered himself — as what loving 
soul does not? — that he was necessary to her, that 
only his old hand could keep her path clear from 
thorns and pitfalls. It was the last duty which 
life had given him to perform, and he clung to it 
gratefully, never realizing the pathetic truth — the 
saddest truth of all — that with all our love, all our 
heartfelt devotion and self-sacrifice, we can no more 
shield our dear ones from the hand of Fate than we 
can shield ourselves, and that their salvation, if 
salvation there be for them, can only come frwn their 
own strength. 

"What a grave face!" he said, with a lightness 
he was not feeling. "Why so serious, dear? Has 
anything gone wrong?" 

She shook her head. 

"No, nothing whatever; on the contrary, 1 was 
thinking how grateful for all my happiness I ought 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



i84 THE NATIVE BORN 

to feel — and do feel. Would you call me an un- 
grateful, discontented person, Uncle?" 

"You? No! What makes you ask?" 

"I think I am ungrateful, only you don't notice 
it, bcause I am not more so than most, and perhaps 
less than a good many. Everybody has flashes of 
scIf-revelation, don't you think, when one sees one- 
self and the whole world in the true proportions 
and not as in every-day Kfe. 1 have just had such a 
revelation. I was feeling rather annoyed that Cap- 
tain Stafford should have forgotten the tournament 
and so make me late; and then you said something 
about him — ^you spoke as though he were ill — and 
the sickening thought flashed through my mind: 
suppose you — or sc»ne one I loved — were taken from 
me — died? Then things slipped into their right size. 
The petty woes and grievances which so amstantly ir- 
ritate me became petty. I didn't care in the least about 
the tennis — I thanked God for you and for your love." 

He saw that she was strangely moved. Her voice 
had a rough, dry sound which he had not heard be- 
fore, and her brows were knitted in a plucky effort 
to keep back the tears that some inward pain had 
driven to her eyes. 

"I didn't mean to frighten you, Lois," he said 
remorsefully. "How was I to know that you were 
so easily alarmed?" 

She pressed his arm with warm affection. 

"There is nothing to be regretted," she said. "I 
ought to be glad that a little thing can stir me — 
some people need catastrophe. If it had not been 
for that sudden fear, I might have been bad-tem- 
pered and spoiled the day for myself and every one." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MANY THINGS ARE BROKEN 185 

"And then you would have had to add it to the 
long list of days which haunt us in later life," he 
added almost to himself, " — one of the occasions 
for happiness which wc have wilfully defaced. But 
there, I think I hear some one coming. It is prob- 
ably Stafford. Won't you run and meet him?" 

She drew her hand quickly from his arm as 
though in answer to his sug^stion, then hesitated 
and shook her head. 

"I think I will wait here with you," she said, look- 
ing up at him. 

He nodded, and they stood side by side watching 
the pathway which led around to the highroad beyond 
the compound. Colonel Carmichael was smiling to 
himself. His wife's sure conviction that the hour of 
Lois' union with Stafford was not far off had at last 
overc<Hne his own inexplicable doubts and objections, 
and he even considered the possibility with a kind of 
satisfaction not immingled with pain. "It is well that 
she should have a good strong man to protect her," he 
thought, conscious of age and growing infirmity. Then 
he looked down at the happy face beside him and his 
smile lost all trace of bitterness. "She loves him," was 
the concluding thought that flashed through his mind 
as Stafford appeared around the comer. He meant to 
say something tn tender jest to her, but the words 
died on his lips and he felt that the hand upon his 
arm had tightened. It was the only sign which 
Lois made that a sudden change had come over 
her horizon. She said nothing, but in the same mo- 
ment that the Colonel's eyes rested on her in half 
tender, half teasing query, she knew instinctively 
that her happiness had shattered against a rock 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



i86 THE NATIVE BORN 

which, hidden beneath a treacherously calm sea, had 
struck suddenly at the very foundations of her world. 

Stafford was coming toward them slowly, his 
head bent. It was not his face which, like a bitter 
frost, froze the overflow of her happy heart to icy 
fear— for she could not see it. It was his attitude, 
his movements, above all a terrible return of that 
presentiment which already once that day had dark- 
ened her hopeful, cheery mood. Do what she 
would, she could not move to meet him. She could 
only stand there, clinging to her guardian's arm, 
the smile of welcome stiffening on her pale lips. 
The Colonel was the first to speak. He held out 
his diseng^ed band with a frank tnovement of 
pleasure. 

"Glad to see you, Stafford," he said. "I was be- 
ginning to think the fever had really got hold of 
you. What has caused the delay?" 

"Delay?" Sufford repeated dully, looking from 
one to the other. 

Travers, who had joined them a moment before, 
laughed with sincerity. 

"My good fellow — surely you have not forgot- 
ten?" he said. "You promised to fetch Miss Cani- 
thers for the tournament." 

"Ah, the tournament !" Stafford passed his hand 
quickly across his forehead tike a man who has 
been awakened roughly from a dream. "Of course 
— the tournament. 1 am awfully sorry — " He turned 
to Lois with a curious, awkward gesture. " — I'm 
afraid I can't come. I — I am not very fit — in fact 
— " He hesitated and then stopped altogether, 
looking past her with his brows Iniitted, his lipi 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MANY THINGS ARE BROKEN 187 

compressed as thoug^h in aa effort to Iceep back an 
exclamation of pain. 

"You look out of sorts," Travers agreed sympa- 
tbeticall/. "Come and take my chair. I'll look 
after Miss Caruthers — if she will let me." 

Lois shook her head. She was watching Staf- 
ford's ashy face and there was a pity in her eyes 
which was deepening every instant to tenderness. 
All suffering awoke in her an instant response, and 
this man was dear to her — how dear she only real- 
ized now that the lines of pain were on his forehead. 

"You are not to bother," she said gently, but 
with an unmistakable decision. "I can manage 
quite well by myself. I shall start as soon as I 
have given Captain Stafford a cup of tea. Sit down 
— it will do you good." 

Stafford made an abrupt gesture of refusal. The 
movement was almost violent, as though for an in- 
stant he had lost hold over himself. Then he pulled 
himself t(^ether, looking her full and steadily in 
the face. 

"It is very good of you," he said, "but indeed I 
can not wait. I have only come to break a piece of 
news to you. As — my best friends here, I thought 
it only right that you should be told first" 

Travers rose with a mock alacrity. 

"Am I de trap, or do I count among &t "best 
friends' ?" he asked. 

Stafford nodded, but he did not meet the quiz- 
zical eyes which studied his face. He was still look- 
ing at Lois. 

"Please remain," he said. "I wish you to know — 
and Miss Cary wishes you to know also." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



i88 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Miss Cary?" It was th« Colonel's turn to speak. 
His veined hand rested clenched on the verandah 
balustrade, and there was a sudden sternness in 
his attitude and voice which filled the atmosphere 
with an electric suspense. "What has Miss Cary 
to do with the matter?" 

"Everything. Miss Cary has consented to be- 
come my wife." 

He was not looking at Lois now, but at the 
Colonel, and then afterward at Travers. The lat- 
ter had turned away and was gazing out over the 
garden, his arms folded over his broad, powerful 
chest. His silence was pointed, brutally signifi- 
cant. It threatened to force an explanation which 
each present was ready to give hts life to avoid. 
The Colonel, Mrs. Carmichael, Stafford himself, 
each thought of Lois in that brief silence, and each 
after his own character acted in obedience to the 
instinctive desire to protect and uphold her. No 
one looked at her. It was as though they were 
afraid to read a pitiful self-betrayal on her young, 
mobile features, and with a fierce attempt at com- 
posure the Colonel turned to Stafford. He meant 
to break the icy threatening silence with the first 
commonplace which occurred to him, and at the 
bottom of his heart he cursed Travers for his at- 
titude of unconcealed scorn. The next instant, the 
clumsy words which he had gathered together in 
his rage and distress were checked by Lois herself. 
She advanced to Stafford with outstretched hand, 
her face grave but absolutely composed. 

"I congratulate you," she said. "I hope you will 
be very happy." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MANY THINGS ARE BROKEN 189 

That was all, but it sufficed to break the spell 
which held them bound. The Colonel's common- 
place passed unnoticed, and Mrs. Carmichael mur- 
mured inaudibly. Only Travers remained silent, 
immovable. 

"Thank you," StafEord said. He had taken Lois' 
hand without hesitation and the painful uneasiness 
which had at first marked his manner had given 
place to a certain grave, decided dignity. "Thank 
you," he repeated. "I hope we shall be happy. In 
the meantime, I must ask you to keep our engage- 
ment private. My future wife wishes it for the 
present— only you were to be told. So much I 
owed to you." 

"Yes, you owed ua so much," the Colonel said, 
and there was a faint, irrepressible irony in his 
tone. 

Stafford still held Lois' hand. He seemed to 
have forgotten that he held it, and when she gently 
drew it away he started and a wave of dark color 
mounted to his forehead. 

"I must go now," she said. "I shall be late for 
the tournament, and I am to play with Captain 
Webb in the doubles. It would not be fair for me 
to spoil everything. I — I am very glad and grate- 
ful that you told us." 

Mrs. Carmichael gripped the arms of her chair. 
She saw more than her husband saw, and there 
was something in that absolute self-possession 
which frightened her. 

"Please go with Lois, Mr. Travers," she said 
sharply, recklessly. "I do not want her to go that 
long way alone. I should worry the whole evening." 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



igo THE NATTVE BORN 

"May I, Miss Canithcrs?" Travers had turned 
at last and was looking at her. "You promised me 
that I might act as substitute. Do you remember?" 
His tone was low, significant, full of a profound 
feeling which he knew she would hear and under- 
' stand. 

She took his extended arm and he felt that she 
clung to him for support. 

"Thank you," she said under her breath. 

She went with him to the head of the verandah 
steps, blindly obeying his strong guidance. Then 
she saw the Colonel's face and suddenly she laughed 
tightly, cheerfully, as though nothing in the world 
had happened, and her eyes flashed with an un- 
conquerable courage. 

"You are not to bother," she called back to him. "I 
shall play up and win. I shall come back with all the 
prizes," 

He nodded. He understood and recognized the 
fighting spirit, and his admiration kindled and 
mingled with a biting, cruel grief. He watched 
her as she walked proudly erect at Travers' side, 
and his heart ached. He understood what his wife 
had understood in the first moment and what an 
hour before would have seemed impossible to them 
both ; he understood that they were helpless, that 
they could neither protect nor comfort the brave 
young life which had been confided to their care. 
Their love, great as it was, lay useless, and his last 
pride, his last consolation was gone. He threw it 
to the wrecked lumber on his life's road. He did 
not hear Stafford's farewell nor his wife's icy re- 
sponse. He stood there with his band clenched on 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MANY THINGS ARE BROKEN 191 

the balustrade, motionless and wordless, until the 
evening shadows had crept over the silent garden. 
In that hour he knew himself to be an old and 
broken man. 

Many miles away a dusty, hazard-faced rider 
urged his weary horse over the great highroad. Danger 
lurked in every shadow, but he heeded nothing — was 
scarcely conscious of what went on about him. He, 
too, suffered, but no remorse mingled itself with his 
tight-lipped grief. He had done the right and — accord- 
ing to his code and way o£ thinking — ^the only merciful 



i.vCoogIc 



CHAPTER XV 

THE GREAT HEALEI 

"YES, it's a fine building," Travers said, looking 
about him with an expression of satisfaction. "The 
Rajah hasn't spared the paint in any way. You 
see, it was all native work, so he killed two birds 
with one stone — pleased us and gave the aborigines 
a job. He has gone quite mad on reforms, poor 
fellow I" He laughed, not in the least contemptu- 
ously, but with a faint pity. "And it's all your do- 
ing. Miss Beatrice," he went on, turning to her with 
an elaborate bow. "You should be very proud of your 
work." 

She looked him straight in the face. They were 
in the new ball-room of the dub-house which the 
Rajah of Marut had just opened. In the adjacent 
tea-room she heard voices raised in gay discussion, 
but for the moment they were quite alone. 

"You give me more credit in the matter than I 
deserve," she said, "Is that generosity on your 
part, or — are you shirking your share of the re- 
sponsibility?" 

"I — shirk my share of the responsibility I" he ex- 
claimed with a good-tempered lifting of the eye- 
brows. "My dear lady, have you ever known me 
to do such a thing?" 

She smiled rather sarcastically. 
192 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE GREAT HEALER 193 

"No, Mr. Travers, bat I own that the idea does 
not seem to me wholly impossible." 

"And even if you were right, why should I in 
this particular case 'shirk the responsibility,* as you 
put it? Surely it is not responsibility we have in- 
curred, but gratitude." 

She walked by his side over to the open win- 
dows which looked out on to the as yet unculti- 
vated and barren gardens. 

"The question is this," she said at last: "Does the 
superficial gratitude of a crowd in any way com- 
pensate for the fact that, in order to obtain it, a 
whole life's happiness has been incidentally sacri- 
ficed?" 

"I know to whom you are alluding," he said, 
looking earnestly at her, "although, as a matter of 
fact„ the two things have nothing to do with each 
other, except in your imagination. You mean Lois, 
Yes, of course she has had a hard time. Who 
doesn't? But it's rubbish to talk of a 'life's happi- 
ness.' In the first place, there isn't such a thing — 
nothing lasts so long as a lifetime, I assure you. 
In the second, Lois has not sustained any real loss 
— not any which I can not make good to her." 

"Do you imagine yourself so all-sufficient?" she 
asked. 

"I have confidence in my own powers," he ad- 
mitted. "That is the first condition of success. 1 
believe that in a few hours I shall have Lois on 
the road to recovery." 

"I do not in the least understand your methods," 
Beatrice said, "but they have hitherto been so emi- 
nently successful that I suppose I ought not to 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



194 THE NATIVE BORN 

question them. 1 hope for the best. I really was 
rather sorry for Lois— especially as she behaved 
so well." 

"Are you starting a conscience, Miss Beatrice?" 
Travers asked gaily. "I rather suspect you. It 
would be such a typically feminine proceeding." 

"There you are quite wrong," she answered, with 
a shade of annoyance in her cool voice. "A con- 
science is an appendage which I discarded a good 
many years ago as the luxury of respectability. 
As you know, and as any woman at the Station would 
tell you, I am not respectable." 

"Whence this anxiety, then?" 

"It is purely a practical one. You talk of grati- 
tude — do you really think any one is grateful to me 
for — this?" She waved her hand toward the lofty, 
handsomely decorated room before her. "Why, I 
doubt if any one remembers that I had anything 
to do with it But every one suspects me of hav- 
ing bewitched Stafford into becoming a deserter — 
thanks to Mrs. Carmichael's tongue — and every one 
feels a just and holy indignation. I doubt whether 
they really care a rap about poor Lois, and indeed 
I could accuse one or two of a certain satisfaction ; 
but the matter has given them a new whip with 
which to beat us out of Marut." 

"But you will not be beaten out of Marut," Trav- 
ers said, a smile passing over his fresh face. "You 
have got a far too firm footing. The woman who 
has bagged the finest catch in the Station has noth- 
ing more to fear." 

"You mean Captain Staflford?" 

"I do." 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE GREAT HEALER 195 

"Then, if you have no objection, we will leave 
that subject alone." 

"By all means, if you wish it," he agreed, some- 
what taken aback. "But, between friends, you 
know, one does not need to be so delicate." 

Her hands played idly with the handle of her 
silk parasol. 

"It is not a matter of delicacy," she said, " — at 
least, not altogether. It would be rather silly to 
begin with that sort of thing at my time of life, 
wouldn't it? But — ^you don't know for certain that 
I shall marry Captain Stafford." 

"My dear lady I You have accepted him I" Travers 
exclaimed. 

She looked at him, her clear hazel eyes flashing 
with momentary fun. 

"It is very bad policy to rely upon what a woman 
says further back than twenty-four hours," she warned 
him. 

For once he remained serious. 

"That may be true, but it is sometimes neces- 
sary to warn her that first thoughts are best." 

"Now, what do you mean ?" 

He folded his arms over his broad chest. 

"Miss Beatrice," he said, appearing to ignore her 
question, "do you remember some time ago my 
telling you that we were like two partners at a 
game of bridge?" 

"I remember very well." 

"Well, we are still partners, though the game is 
Rearing its end. As a rule I am for straight, above- 
board play, but there are moments when a man is 
strongly tempted to cheat." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



196 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Haven't we cheated all throi^?" she inquired, 
with a one-sided smile. 

"By no means. We have finessed, that's all. Just 
at present I feel impelled to— well, give you a hint 
under the table." 

"Why?" 

"Miss Beatrice, more or less I stand in the posi- 
tion of a skilled and rich player who has tempted a 
less wealthy partner into a doubtful game. If my 
plans fail, I can look after myself; but I shouldn't 
like to get you in a mess. If I give you a hint, will 
you keep counsel?" 

"I suppose I must." 

"Well, then, it's just this. Your mother has in- 
vested the greater part of her money in the Marut 
Company. I did not want her to — I'll say that for 
myself — but she has the speculating craze, and 
nothing would stop her. Of course the mine will 
be an immense success — but if it isn't, I should 
like to see you, as my partner, well out of reacH 
of the results." 

"Now I understand. Thank you." 

"As to the Rajah, I think you had better let him 
run before things go too far. I'm afraid he has got 
one or two silly ideas in his head. You had better 
make your engagement public." 

"Thank you." She looked perfectly calm and 
collected. The red had died out of her cheeks and 
left them their pale rose, which not even the hot- 
test Indian sun had been able to wither. Still, her 
tone had something in it which startled even the self- 
possessed Travers. 

"By Jove!" he began, "are you angry — ?" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE GREAT HEALER 197 

She passed over the qaesUoo before he bad time 
to finish it 

"I am going into the garden to look for my 
mother," she said. "The band is just beginning. Au 
revoir." 

Travers watched her curiously and admiringly 
as she walked across the parquetry flooring to the 
door. It requires a good deal of self-possession and 
carriage to walk gracefully under the scrutiny of 
critical eyes, and this self-possession and carriage 
were the final clauses to Beatrice's claim to physical 
perfection. There was a natural dignity in her 
bearing and an absolute balance in all her move- 
ments which Travers had never seen before com- 
bined in one woman. At first sight an observer 
called her pretty, and then, as one by one the per- 
fect details unfolded themselves to a closer criti- 
cism, beautiful. He was never disappointed, and 
even the most carping and envious of Marut's fe- 
male contingent had failed to find her vulnerable 
point. So they had turned with more success to 
her character, and proceeded there with their work 
of destruction. Her beauty they left unquestioned. 

Travers often asked himself — and asked himself 
especially on this afternoon — why, apart from prac- 
tical considerations, he had not fallen in love with 
her instead of Lois. He liked beautiful women, as 
he liked all beautiful things, and Lois had no real 
pretensions to beauty. Was it, perhaps, as he had 
said, that her honesty and genuine heart-goodness 
had drawn him to her? Of course he had pre- 
tended that it was so. He knew that, in company 
with all true women, she was susceptible to that 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



198 THE NATIVE BORN 

form of flattery where other compliments merely 
di^usted, and he had made good use of his knowl- 
edge. He had often laughed to himself at the 
feminine craze for salvaging lost souls, but he had 
never taken it seriously, not even with Lois. Was 
there any truth in the assertions that he bad made 
to her, more than he knew? The idea amused him 
immensely, and also drew his attention back to his 
previous conversation with Beatrice Cary. He 
shook his head whimsically in the direction she 
had taken. 

"I don't care what you say," he thought, "you 
are getting a conscience. Now, I wonder whom 
you caught it from? Not from me, I'll be bound." 

He laughed out loud, and shaking himself up 
from his half-lounging attitude against the window 
casement, he proceeded to follow in Beatrice's foot- 
steps. At the door he was met by three men — the 
Rajah, Stafford, and a new-comer whom he did not 
recognize and for the moment scarcely noticed. He 
had a quick and sympathetic intelligence, which 
was trained to read straight through men's eyes 
into their minds, and in an instant he had classed 
and compared, not without a pang of real if very 
objective regret, the two familiar faces and their 
expressions. Gloom and sunshine jostled each other. 

On the one hand, Nehal Singh had never looked bet- 
ter than he did then. The old film of dreamy contem- 
plation was gone from his eyes, which flashed with en- 
ergy and purpose; the face was thinner and in places 
lined; the figure, always upright, had become more 
muscular. From a merely handsome man he had de- 
veloped into a striking personality, released from the 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE GREAT HEALER 199 

bonds of an enforced inactivity and an objectless des- 
tiny. By just so much Stafford had altered for the 
worse. His character was too strong and rigid to al- 
low an absolute breakdown. He still carried himself 
well ; to all intents and purposes, as far as his duty was 
concerned, he was as hard-woridng and consdentious 
as he had ever been, but no strength of will had 
been able to hinder the change in his face and ex- 
pression. He looked years older. There was grey 
mixed with the dark brown of his hair; the eyes 
were hollow and lightless ; the cheeks had painfully 
sunken in. A friend returning after a two months' 
absence would have said that he had gone through 
a sharp and very dangerous illness ; but Marut, 
who knew that he had not been ill, wondered exceed- 
ingly. 

They wondered all the more because, though noth- 
ing was known for certain, they suspected a rupture 
in the relations between Stafford and the Carmi- 
chael family, and Beatrice was recognized as the un- 
doubtable cause. Her engagement with Stafford had 
been kept secret, but the Marut world had its ideas and 
was puzzled to distraction as to why he seemed to shun 
her sodety and had become morose and taciturn. "It 
is his consdence," said the busybodies, whose inexperi- 
ence on the subject of conscience excused the mistaken 
diagnosis. Travers knew better. He felt no sort of re- 
gret, but he was rather sorry for Stafford and some- 
times Stafford felt his unspoken sympathy and shrank 
from it. 

"We have been looking all over the place for you, 
Travers," he said, after the first greeting had been 
^exchanged. "Nicholson arrived here last night, and 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



200 THE NATIVE BORN 

he has already been on a tour of inspection. He 
wants to know the man who has built the modern 
settlement." 

Travers turned to the new-comer and held out his 
hand. 

"Glad to meet you," he said cordially ; "but please 
don't run off with the idea that I have anything to 
do with the innovations. I am no more than the 
artisan. The Rajah is the moving spirit." 

Nehal Singh's expression protested. 

"H money is the moving power, you may be 
right," he said; "but if, as 1 think, the conception 
is everything, then the credit is wholly yours," 

"You have been the enei^ing spirit," Travers re- 
torted. 

"Well, we will divide the honors. And, after all, it 
does not matter in the least who has done it, so long 
as it is done." 

"Well spoken t" Adam Nicholson said. "If that's 
your principle, I'm not surprised at the marvels 
you have brought about." 

Nehal Singh turned to the speaker. 

"You think the changes arc for the good?" he 
asked eageriy. 

"Without a doubt The new Bazaar is a model for 
Indian civilization." 

"And the mine?" 

"Excuse me — is that part of the reform? I under- 
stood that it was merely a speculation." 

The prince's brows contracted with surprise. 

"It is part of the reform. I wish to pve my peo- 
ple a settled mdustry. There is no idea of — ^per- 
sonal gain." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE GREAT HEALER aoi 

"I see. Well, I don't know about that yet. I 
haven't looked into the matter; I must to-morrow — 
that is, no, I won't. You know," — with a move- 
ment of good-tempered impatience — "I've been sent 
here on a rest-cure, and I'm not to bother about 
anything. Please remind me now and again. I al- 
ways forget." 

Stafford smiled grimly. 

"You don't look as though you knew what rest 
is," he said. 

Travers, who stood a little on one side, felt there 
was some truth in the criticism. During the brief 
conversation between Nehal Singh and Nicholson 
he had had ample opportunity to study the two men 
and to glean the esthetic pleasure which all beauty 
gave him. Both represented the best type of their 
respective races, and, curiously enough, this per- 
fection seemed to obliterate the differences. Travers 
could not help thinking, as he glanced from one to 
the other, that, had it not been for the dress, it 
would have been difficult to decide who was the 
native prince and who the officer. Nehal Singh's 
high forehead and clean-cut features might have 
been those of a European, and his complexion, if 
anything, was fairer than that of the sunburnt man 
opposite hira. It was doubtful, too, which of the 
two faces was the more striking. Travers felt him- 
self irresistibly drawn to the new-comer. The bold, 
aquiline nose, the determined mouth under the 
close-cut moustache, the broad forehead with the 
white line where the military helmet had protected 
from the sun, the black hair prematurely sprinkled 
with grey — these, together with the well-built fig- 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



2M THE NATIVE BORN. 

ure, made him seem worthy of the record of hero- 
ism and ability with which his name was associated. 

"If you want a rest, your only hope is with the 
ladies," Travers said, as he turned with Nicholson 
toward the garden. "They are the only people who 
» haven't got mines and industrial progress on the brain. 
Are you prepared to be lionized, by the way? We are 
all so heartily sick of one another that a new arrival is 
bound to be pursued to death." 

"I don't care so long as I get in some decent ten- 
nis and polo," Nicholson answered cheerfully. "Not 
that I've starved in that respect. I got my men up 
at the Fort into splendid form. We made our net 
and racquets ourselves, and rolled out some sort 
of a court. It was immense fun, though the rac- 
quets weren't all you mi^t have wished, and 
the court had a most disconcerting surface," He 
laughed heartily at his recollections, and Travers 
laughed with him. 

"No wonder the men worshiped you," he said, and 
then saw that the remark had been a mistake. 

"They didn't worship me," was the sharp answer. 
"That sort of thing is all rubbish. They respected 
me, and I respected them — that's all." 

"It seems to me a good deal," Travers observed. 

"It is a good deal, in one sense," Nicholson re- 
turned. "It is the only condition under which na- 
tive and European can work in unity." 

Nehal Singh and Stafford were walking a little 
ahead, and Travers thought he saw the Rajah hesi- 
tate as though about to join the conversation. Al- 
most immediately, however, Nicholson changed the 
subject. 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE GREAT HEALER 303 

"I've had no time to look up my old friends," he 
said to Travers. "Perhaps you could tell me some- 
thing about them. Colonel Carmichael is, of course, 
stiK here. I had a few words with him this afteiv 
noon. Do you know if that little girl, Lois Caru- 
thers, is with him, or has she gtme back to Ei^- 
land?" 

"No, she is still in Marut." 

"That's good. When I was a young lieutenant, 
she and I were great pals. Of course she is grown 
up now, but I always think of her as my wild little 
comrade who led me into the most hairbreadth ad- 
ventures." He smiled to himself, and Travers, look- 
ing sharply at htm, felt that there was a wealth Of 
memories behind the pleasant grey eyes. 

"Things change," he said sententiously. 

"Do they? Well, perhaps; though the change, I 
find, lies usually in oneself, and I never change. Is 
she married?" 

"No^not yet." 

He saw that Nicholson was on the point of an- 
swering, asking another question, and he went on 
hurriedly : 

"She is not here this afternoon. If yon are 
anxious to meet her, how would it be if I ran over 
to the Colonel's bungalow and persuaded her to 
come? I dare say I could manage it." 

"Excellent, if you wouldn't mind. Or I might go 
myself. We shall have any amount to say to each 
other." 

There was a scarcely noticeable pause before 
Travers answered : 

"t think it would be better if I went I know a 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



304 THE NATIVE BORN 

short cut, and could get there and back with Miss 
Caruthers in half an hour. Would you mind tell- 
ing the Colonel what I have done?" 

"Certainly. In the meantime, I'll have a talk with 
the Rajah about this mining business. He seems 
to have an exceptional individuality, and — " 
"Remember the doctor !" Travers warned him. 
"Oh, yes, thanks! I forgot again. By the way, 
when you see Lois — Miss Caruthers — tell her for 
me, the cathedral still lacks the chief spire, but other- 
wise is getting on very nicely." 
"I'm afraid I don't understand." 
"No, but I dare say she will. Good-by." 
Travers borrowed a buggy from one of the other 
guests, and started impetuously on his self-imposed 
errand. He had lied about the short cut, and about 
the half-hour. He would have lied up to the hilt 
if it had been required of him, because his instinct 
— that instinct which had saved him untold times 
from blundering — warned him that danger was at 
hand. It told him that it was now or never, and 
the realization tilled him with a reckless resolve which 
was ready to ride down all principles and honor. He 
was still sufficiently master of himself to hide the storm ; 
it showed itself only in so far that, when he stood be- 
fore Lois, he seemed more moved and agitated than she 
had ever seen him. She had just returned from a long 
and lonely ride, and was about to retire to change her 
white habit, when he came upon her in the entrance 
hall. Had he not found her himself, she would have 
refused to see him, for she dreaded his message. She 
felt that he had come to urge her attendance at the 
opening ceremony, and old fondness for social pleas- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE GREAT HEALER 205 

ures of that kind had given place to dislike. It was 
the only change that sorrow had wrought upon her 
character. Otherwise she was the same as she had 
always heen. For one week she had suffered some- 
thing like despair, and then the brave spirit in her 
despised itself for its weakness, and set to work 
on the rebuilding of her life on new foundations. 
To all appearances, she had succeeded admirably in 
her task. There was no drooping hopelessness in 
her attitude toward the world. And if beneath the sur- 
face there lay hidden the dangerous flaw of purpose^ 
lessness, no one knew — at least, so she believed. 

To her surprise, Travers made no mention of the 
subject she dreaded. He took her hand in his, and 
led her into the shady drawing-room. She made 
no attempt to protest, nor did she offer him any 
formal greeting. She was oppressed and hypno- 
tized by the conviction that a crisis was about to 
break over her head which no power of hers could 
avert. He did not let her hand go. He still held 
it between his own as they stood opposite each 
other, and she felt that he was trembling. 

"Lois," he said, "Lois, don't think me mad. There 
are limits to a man's endurance. I have held out 
so long that I can hold out no longer. I have come 
because I must speak to you alone. Will you let 
me?" 

She knew now what was coming, and she made 
a gentle effort to free herself. 

"Mr. Travers, will you think me very conceited 
if I say that I know what you have come to tell me ?" 
she said, with an earnestness which did not conceal 
her anxiety. "Will you forgive me if I ask you 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



3o6 THE NATIVE BORN 

not to tell me? It would be hard to have to spoil 
our friendship. It has been a great deal to me." 

"Does that mean that you don't care?" 

"I did not say that. As proof that I do care I 
will pve you my whole confidence, I will be ab- 
solutely honest with you. Will you think me very 
low-spinted if I tell you that a man still holds a 
place in my life — a man who cares nothing for me? 
I ought to forget him — my pride should make it 
possible, and yet I can not, and somehow I do not think 
I ever shall." 

"Isn't that rather a hard punishment for him. 
Lots ?" 

"For him?" 

"I, too, will be honest. I know whom you mean 
and I ask you — does Stafford look a happy roan? 
He looks like a man weighed down by a heavy 
burden. I believe that burden is the knowledge 
that he has sinned against you, that in his heedless- 
ness, folly, what you will, he has spoiled your life. 
Until he feels that you have regained your happi- 
ness he will never be able to find his own." 

A spasm of pain passed over her face. 

"You mean — I stand in his way?" 

"I believe so. And I am sure of one thing — ^for 
your own sake as well as for his, you must shake off 
your old affection for him, and how better than 
through the cultivation of a new and stronger love? 
My dear little girl, you couldn't pretend that all the 
happy hours we have spent together count for noth- 
ing. You say my friendship has been a great deal 
to you. What else is friendship but the sanest, 
most lasting, and noblest part of love? What surer 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE GRfiAT HEALER ao; 

basis was ever the union between a man and woman 
built upOD? I know what you would say — it has 
come too soon. You have only just pulled yourself 
up from a hard blow, and you feel that you must 
have time to right yourself and all the hopes that 
were bowled over with you. My dear, I understand 
that — God knows, I understand too well — but have 
pity on me. Think how I have waited, and how 
time has drifted on and on for me. Must I wait the 
best years of my life? Won't you let me add the 
whole of my love to time's cure for healing the old 
wound ?" 

There was no pretense in his pleading, no pre- 
tense in the passion with which his voice shook. 
And because it was genuine, it carried her forward 
on the wave of powerful feeling toward his will. 

"I do care for you," she said, with a strong ef- 
fort to appear calm. "As a friend you are very 
dear to me, and you are no doubt right to class ' 
friendship so highly. But I can not pretend that I love 
you. I do not love you. And a woman should love the 
man she marries." 

He let her hands fall. 

"And so you are going to let your life remain 
empty, little woman?" 

"Empty?" she echoed. 

"Yes, empty. Will it prove the strength of my 
love for you if I tell you that it has given me the 
power to look straight into your heart? How many 
times have I read there the thought ; 'Of what use 
is it all? My life has no object, no end or aim. No 
one needs me now.* Lois, one man needs you — 
needs you perhaps as much as he loves you. That 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



308 THE NATIVE BORN 

man is myself. If you say you have done nothing 
in the world, look into the soul that I open out to 
you and to you alone. There is not a generous, 
honest deed or thought which has not its origin in 
you. For your sake I have beaten down the devil 
under my feet — I have tried to live as I meant to 
live before the time when I, too, found that there 
was no object in it all, that no one cared whether 
I was good or bad. This much have you changed 
in me — it has been your unconscious work. Are 
you going to leave the task which surely God has 
left for you to accomplish?" 

He had touched the chord in her which could only 
give one response, and he knew it. There lay the 
canker which made her energy and cheerfulness a 
mere task to hide the real disease. Half uncon- 
sciously she had loved Stafford and half uncon- 
sciously she had built her life upon him. When 
he had been taken from her, the foundations had 
been shaken, and she found herself crippled by a 
horrible sense of emptiness and purposelessness. In 
England she would have flung herself into some in- 
tellectual pursuit, as other women do who have 
suffered heart shipwreck. But she was in India, 
and in India intellectual food is scarce. Pleasure 
is the one serious occupation for the womenkind; 
and though pleasure may be a good narcotic for 
some, for Lois it was worse than useless. She 
needed one being for whom she could bring sacri- 
fices and endless patient devotion, and there was 
no one. Her two guardians lived for her, and that 
was not what she hungered after with all the 
thwarted energy of her soul. She wanted to work 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THE GREAT HEALER 209 

tor somebody, not to be worked for — and no one 
needed her, no one except this man. She looked 
at him. She saw that her long silence was torture 
to him; she saw that he was suffering genuinely, 
and her heart went out to him in pity. Pity is a 
woman's invariable undoing. How many women — 
sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy, according 
to the rulings of an inscrutable Fate — have mar- 
ried, partly out of flattered vanity, but chiefly be- 
cause they are good-hearted, and labor under the 
mistaken conviction that a man's happiness rests 
on their decision? And in this particular instance 
Lois was honestly attached to Travers. She felt 
that to lose him would be to lose a friend whom she 
could ill spare. Yet a blind instinct forced her to 
a last resistance. 

"I do not love you," she repeated, almost desperate- 
ly. 

"t do not ask for that now, because I know that 
it will come. I ask you to be my lifelong friend 
and helper. Remember your promise, Loisl Has 
not the time come when we need each other — ^when 
no one else is left?" He took her hand again. He 
felt that she was won. 

"If you need me — I care for you enough to try 
and love you as my husband." 

"Thank you, Lois!" 

His inborn tact and knowledge of the human 
character stood him again in good stead. He made 
no violent demonstration of his triumph and happi- 
ness, thus breaking roughly into a region which 
as yet for him was dangerous ground. As he had 
done months before, when the road to success had 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



3IO THE NATIVE BORN 

seemed blocked, he lifted faer hand reverentty and 
gratefully to his lips. 

Thus it was that Captain Adam Nicholson waited 
patiently but in vain for Travers' return with bis 
old playfellow. As one by one the Rajah's guests 
took their departure in order to prepare for the 
evening's festivities, he gave up his last hope. 

"I suppose it was too late," he thou^t ruefully. 
"Or — she was so young, and it's many years ^o— 
maybe she has forgotten." 

It was not till long afterward that he knew bow 
unconsciously bis first supposition bad brushed past 
tbe truth. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER XVI 



TRAVERS had correctly described the new Ma- 
nit club-hoiise as a fine building on which the paint 
had been laid with a generous hand. The orig- 
inal modest design had been rejected as unworthy, 
and Nehal Singh had ordered the erection of a mini- 
ature copy of his own palace, the ball-room being 
line for line a reproduction of the Great Hall, save 
that the decorations, which in the palace were ini- 
imitable, had been carried out with dignified sim- 
plicity, and that some necessary modernization had 
been added. Gold and white predominated, where 
in the original, precious stones glistened; the brack- 
ets for the torches were transformed into small ar- 
tistic lamps which had been ordered from Madras; 
and from the ceiling a heavy chandelier added bril- 
liancy to the shaded light. The central floor had 
been left free for dancing, but the slender pillars 
ranged on either side formed separate little alcoves 
banked with flowers and plants. It was in one of 
these refuges from the whirr and confusion of gay 
dresses and white uniforms that Stafford took up 
hjs watch. He had arrived late, thanks to Travers, 
who had detained him at his bungalow in a long 
and earnest conversation. The two men had sub- 
sequently driven together to tber club, and had fur- 

211 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



212 THE NATIVE BORN 

ther been hindered on their way by a curious ac- 
cident. Just where the road passed an unprotected 
ravine, a native had sprung out from some bushes 
and, having waved his arms wildly, disappeared. 
The horse had immediately taken fright, and for a 
moment the car and its occupants stood in danger 
of being flung headlong down the precipice. Staf- 
ford's strength and nerve had saved the situation, 
but the incident had effectually put an end to their 
conversation, and now for the first time Stafford 
found himself alone and at liberty to bring some 
order into his troubled thoughts. 

He was not, as Manit supposed, a conscience- 
stricken man, but a man with a diseased con- 
science, his sense of duty and responsibility de- 
veloped to abnormities which left him no clear 
judgment. He had broken with Lois because he 
loved her and because there seemed no other way 
of shielding her from the most terrible blow that 
could fall upon any human life — ^judging by the 
only standard he knew, which was his own. He 
had asked Beatrice to be his wife because it cut 
the last link and because he knew — ^Travers had 
told him — that the Station had long since coupled 
their names together in a way that cast a deeper 
shadow about Beatrice's reputation. 

"It's no one's fault, old fellow," Travers had said 
sympathetically. "You meant no harm, but you 
were often with her, and that old fiend, Mrs. Cary, 
has told every one that you 'were as good as—' 
And then you know what the people are here. When 
they see that things are at an end between you and 
Lois they will dig their knives deeper into Miss 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FATE 313 

Cary, without giving her the credit of having won 
her game. She is fairly at every one's mercy here. 
I am sorry for Lois, but the other is worse off, ac- 
cording to my lights." 

Stafford had said nothing. Goaded by Travers' 
words and blinded by the catastrophe which had 
broken upon him, he bad acted without thought, 
without consideration, for the first time in his life 
obeying the behests of a headlong impulse. He 
had asked Beatrice to be his wife, and to-night was 
to put the final seal upon their alliance. Again it 
was Travers who had spoken the decisive word, 

"A secret engagement is a piece of folly," he said, 
"and Miss Cary is mad to wish it. For your sake 
as well as hers, everything must be above-board. 
Or are you shirking?" 

Stafford had made a hot retort. It was not in 
the scope of his character to turn back on a road 
which he had marked out for himself, and he waited 
now for Beatrice with the unshaken resolution of 
a man who believes absolutely in himself and his 
own code. He waited even with a certain impa- 
tience. Shortly before he had seen her standing 
at the Rajah's side, a fair and beautiful contrast to 
his eastern splendor, and, somehow, in that mo- 
ment, he had understood Travers' warning as he 
had not understood it before. She was to be his 
wife, she was to bear his name, and it was his duty 
to protect her if need be from herself. He was 
about to leave the alcove to go in search of her when 
she pushed aside the hangings and entered. The 
suddenness of her appearance and something in her 
expression startled him. He did not notice how 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



214 THE NATIVE BORN 

radiantly beautiful she was nor the taste and rich- 
ness of her dress. He saw only that there was a 
curious look of pain and fear in her eyes which 
warmed his friendship and aroused in him afresh 
the desire to shield her from the malice of the eyes 
that watched them. 

"Have I been a long time coming?" she asked, 
taking the chair he offered her. "I am so sorry. 
The Rajah kept me." 

Her voice sounded breathless and there was a 
forced lightness in her tone which did not escape 
him. He bent a tittle over her. 

"It does not matter," he said. "You lotA troubled. 
Is there anything wrong?" 

She laughed. 

"Nothing." 

He hesitated, and then went on slowly: 

"There is one matter I want to speak to you 
about, Beatrice. It is the matter of — our engage- 
ment. I think you are wrong to wish it kept secret. 
I think it can only bring trouble and misunderstand- 
ing. Will you not allow me to tell every one?" 

The white satin slipper stopped its regular tat- 
too on the rugged floor. She lifted her face to his 
and looked him full in the eyes. 

"You think it was foolish and unreasonable to 
wish no one to know? But I had my reasons — very 
good reasons. I wanted the retreat kept dear for 
you." 

"Retreat — for me?" 

"Yes, for you. Captain Stafford, why did you 
ask me to be your wife?" 

He drew himself stiffly erect. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FATE ■ 315 

"I told you at the time," he said sternly. "I waa 
quite honest. I told you that the best a man can 
bring the woman he marries is not in my power to 
give you. It was — shipwrecked some time ago." 

"Not so very long ago," she corrected. 

"That does not matter. The point is that I believe 
it in my power to make you happy — at any rate, it 
would always be my ambition to see you so ; and 
therein I should no doubt regain a great deal that I 
have lost — " 

"But you do not love me. Captain Stafford?" 

"I have just said that I have lost the power o{ 
loving." 

For a moment she was silent, her jeweled hands rest- 
ing wearily on the arms of her chair, her eyes sunk to 
the ground. 

"You made me an honorable proposal, Captain Staf- 
ford," she said at last. "You are an honorable man 
and inspire me with the desire to be honorable also. 
Won't you take back your freedom while there is yet 
time?" 

"No." 

"There are others — good women among whom yoa 
would hnd one who would love you as you deserve. I 
do not love you. All I can bring is a certain respect 
and friendship — that is all." 

"I am grateful for so much," he said. He was 
thinking of Lois, and his voice sounded hard and 
compressed. 

"If I marry you it will be because I must" 

He nodded. 

"Yes, I am aware of that." 

"Aware of that?" she said, looking up into his 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



3i6 THE NATIVE BORN 

hai^rd face. "How should you be 'aware of that?* 
Is my private life so public then?" 

"You misunderstand me," he said, striving to 
cover up what he felt to have been a wanton piece 
of brutality. "I only mean, you must for the same 
reason that I must — because circumstances have 
linked us inseparably together, and because — " 

He broke o£f. The tall figure of the Rajah had 
passed the alcove and he had seen Beatrice sink 
back in her chair. As the figure moved on she 
broke into one of her harsh, jarring laughs. 

"Good heavens, Captain Stafford," she exclaimed, 
"your arguments haven't a leg to stand on 1 What 
are you marrying me for?" 

"I have tried to explain," he said, swinging him- 
self clumsily up to the great lie of his life — "be- 
cause I need you — and I hope you will come to need 
me." 

"You mean I do need you? Well, perhaps I do I" 
She sprang to her feet and held out her hand to him. 
"There 1 I seal the bargain. I warned you but you 
would not be warned. Vogue la galeret Tell the whole 
world — it is better so." 

He took the small firm hand and pressed it. AC 
the same moment he saw the Rajah approaching 
for a second time. 

"I will leave you now," he said'in a low, earnest 
whisper. "I fancy the Rajah wishes to speak with 
you. It would be a good opportunity to tell him 
that we are engaged." 

She drew back her hand hastily. 

"Yes — of course I shall tell him." 

Stafford bowed ceremoniously, making wax for 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FATE 317 

Nehal Singh. As he did so, he saw Lois enter the 
hall at Mrs. Carmichael's side. The two women 
bowed to him, the elder in a way which he had learned 
to understand. He drew aside out of their path, 
avoiding the genuine kindness which Lois' eyes ex- 
pressed for him. 

"Pray God you believe the worst of mel" was 
the thought that flashed through hts mind. "Pray 
God I have taught you to forget!" 

Nehal Singh had meanwhile taken Stafford's 
place at Beatrice's side. As he had entered the al- 
cove she had made an effort to pass out, but her 
eyes had met his, and the look in them bad held 
her rooted to the ground. The color died and deep- 
ened by turns in her cheeks, and the hand that 
clasped the ivory fan shook as it had never shaken 
before in the course of a life full of risks and dan- 
gers. But then no man had ever looked at her as 
this man did. She had outstared insolence and 
snubbed sentimentality. She had never had to 
face such an honest, pure-hearted worship as this 
young prince brought and laid silently at her feet. 
No need for him to tell her that she embodied every 
virtue and every perfection of which human nature 
is capable. She knew it, and the knowledge broke 
the very backbone of her daring and stirred to life 
in her sickened soul emotions which she could 
scarcely recognize as her own. 

He stood quite close to her, but he did not touch 
her. In all their acquaintance he had never, except 
when he had taken her hand in farewell, made any 
attempt to draw nearer to her than the strictest eti- 
quette allowed. Other men — men whom she hard- 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



2i8 THE NATIVE BORN 

ly knew — had taken the opportunity which a ride 
or drive offered to kiss her, and had been offended 
and surprised at her contemptuous rebuff. (What 
girl in Marut objected to being kissed?) This man 
had treated her as though she were holy, an ob- 
ject to be respected and protected, not to be bandied 
as a common plaything; and her heart had gone 
out to him in gratitude and admiration. But to- 
night his very respect was painful to her. For a 
moment she would have given the best years of her 
life to know that he despised her and that all was 
over between them; and then came the revulsion, 
the wild longing to hold him to her as though his 
trust in her were her one salvation. 

"Lakshmi!" he said, in a voice broken with feel- 
ing. "Lakshmi, you are the most perfect woman 
God ever sent to earth. Every hour I grow to 
know you better I feet how pale and empty of all 
true beauty my life was until you came. How 
can I thank you for all you have given me?" 

"Hush I" she said. "You must not talk to me Kla 
that. You must not." 

"Why should I not tell you what is true?" 

"Because — oh, don't you see?" — she gave a short, 
unsteady laugh — "we English don't tell people ev- 
erything that is true. A man does not say that sort of 
thing to a woman — " 

"To one woman !" he said. 

"Yes, to one woman, perhaps. But I — I — " She 
hesitated, the truth struggling feebly to her lips. 
She felt herself turn sick and faint as she looked 
into his earnest face. She knew what answer he 
bad ready for her, and though it would have 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FATE 319 

brought the end for which she was praying, she 
sought with all her strength to keep it back. All 
the brutality in her character, her indifference to 
the feelings and opinions of others, failed. She 
dreaded the change that would come into his eyes; 
she did not believe that she could bear it. To- 
morrow would be time enough. But was it any 
longer in her power to determine when it would 
be time enough? There was an expression in Nehal 
Singh's face which told her that he had already de- 
cided, and that the reins had suddenly slipped from 
her hands into his. 

"Rajah — " she b^an, wildly seeking for some 
inspiration which would give her back control over 
herself and him. But the triviality died on her lips 
as the truth had died. A shrill cry broke above 
the dying waltz, and the Rajah and Beatrice, startled 
by its piercing appeal, turned from each other and 
confronted a catastrophe which overshadowed, and for 
the moment obliterated, their own threatening fate. 

The dancers had already retired to the sittings 
out alcoves. Only one figure occupied the floor, 
and that figure was Stafford's. He was crossing 
the room and had reached the center when the cry 
had been uttered. The amazed and startled watch- 
ers saw Lois rush toward him and with an incred- 
ible strength and rapidity thrust him to one side. 
A second later — it scarcely seemed a second — the 
immense golden chandelier crashed with a sound 
like thunder on to the very spot where he had been 
standing. A moment's uproar and horrified con- 
fusion ensued. The place, plut^ed in a half-dark- 
ness, seemed filled with dust and flying fragments. 



:,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



220 THE NATIVE BORN 

and pec^Ie hurrying backward and forward, scarcely 
knowing what had happened or what had been the ex- 
tent of the accident Stafford's voice was the first to 
bring reassurance to the startled crowd. 

"It's all right !" he shouted. "We are both safe, 
thank God I" 

They saw that he was deadly pale, though other- 
wise calm and collected. In the first moment of 
alarm he had instinctively caught Lois in his arms, 
as though to shield her from some fresh danger, 
but immediately afterward he had let her go, and she 
stood apart amidst the debris of the wrecked chande- 
lier, trembling slightly, but firmly refusing all assist- 
ance. 

"I owe my life to you," Stafford said to her, with 
awkward gratitude. 

"You do not need to thank me," she answered at 
once. "I did what any one else would have done 
in my place. I saw it coming." 

"How did it happen?" The question came from 
Nehal Singh, who had forced his way to her side. 
"I can not understand how such an accident was pos- 
sible." 

There was an anxiety in his manner which seemed 
to increase during Lois' brief hesitation. 

"I hardly like to say," she said at last, in a 
troubled voice. "I could not believe my eyes, and 
even now it seems like a dream. Or a shadow 
mi^t have deceived me. I don't know — " 

"Please tell me what you saw, or thought you 
saw!" the Rajah begged earnestly. 

"I seemed to see the chandelier being lowered," 
she said, with an irrepressible shudder, "and then from 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FATE 221 

a dark hole in the celling a hand appeared — a black 
hand with a knife — " 

One of the women moaned, and there was afterward 
a silence in which a wave of formless fear sui^d over 
the closed circle. The men exchanged questioning 
glances, to which no one had an answer. 

"That's just the way," Beatrice heard some one 
behind her say. "We dance on the crust of a vol- 
cano or under a threatening avalanche. Sooner or 
later the one gives way or the other falls. There 
is no real safety from these devils." 

Meanwhile Nehal Singh had approached the 
wreckage and was examining the crown, to which a 
piece of gilded rope and chain were sttU attached. 
One or two of the men were engaged in stamping 
out the candles, which still sputtered feebly on the 
floor. The rest stood about uncomfortably, hyp- 
notized by an indefinable alarm. 

"I fear you did not dream. Miss Caruthers," the 
Rajah said at last. "The rope has been cut — the 
chain unlinked. Some wicked harm was intended 
to us all." 

"Not to us all," Stafford observed coolly. "I 
think you will admit. Rajah, that whoever the mur- 
derer was, he would have chosen a more advan- 
tageous moment if he had intended general dam- 
^e. My life was the one aimed at, and I am all 
the more convinced that I am right, because this is the 
third time within twenty-four hours that I have escaped 
by a miracle from accidents which were not accidental." 

The Rajah started sharply around. 

"How? — what do you mean?" he demanded. 

"Yesterday my b6at on the river was plugged. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



222 THE NATIVE BORN 

To-day a native tried to fri^ten my horse over 
the ravine. This" — pointing to the chandelier — 
"is the third attempt." 

"Do you know of any one who could have a 
grudge against you?" 

"No." 

"Or against — ^your family?" 

There was a slight hesitation in Stafford's man- 
ner. He frowned as a man does who has been 
pressed with an unpleasant question. 

"That is more possible," he admitted. 

Nehal Singh made no further remark. He stood 
staring straight ahead into the half-darkness, and 
every eye in that uneasy assembly fixed itself on 
his face, as though striving to read from his ex- 
pression the conclusion to which his mind was grop- 
ing. For his exclamation after Stafford's first an- 
nouncement had betrayed that a sudden suspicion 
had flashed before him, and they watted for him 
to take them into hts confidence. But they waited 
in vain. He seemed to have forgotten their exis- 
tence, and the silence grew tense and painful. All at 
once, Mrs. Berry, who was dinging to her husband's 
arm, uttered a scream, which acted like a shock of 
electricity on the overstrained nerves of those who 
stood about her. 

"Look I Look!" she cried. "Miss Caruthers is on 
fire I Oh, help! Helpl" 

She turned and rushed like a frightened sheep 
to the back of the hall, crying incoherent warnings 
to those who tried to bar her headlong flight. It 
was a catastrophe upon catastrophe. How it hap- 
pened no one knew — possibly some half-extinct 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FATE 223 

candle had done the work. In an instant Lois' 
■white silk dress had become a sheet of flame which 
mounted with furious rapidity to her horror-strick- 
en face. In such disasters it is only the question 
of a fraction of a second as to who recovers his 
wits first. Almost on the top of Mrs. Berry's 
heedless scream Beatrice had sprung toward the 
doomed girl — with what intention she hardly knew 
— but before she was in reach of danger Adam 
Nicholson thrust her to one side and, folding Lois 
in his arms, flung her to the ground. 

"A rug — a shawl — anything I" he shouted. 

Mrs. Carmichael tore the long wrap from her 
shoulders, and a dozen willing hands lent what as- 
sistance first occurred to them. But Nicholson 
fought his enemy alone. 

"Stand back I" he commanded. "Stand backT' 

They obeyed him instinctively, and stood help- 
less, watching the short, desperate struggle between 
life and death. Scarcely a moment elapsed before 
the flames died down — one last tight drawing to- 
gether of Mrs. Carmichael's wrap, and they were ex- 
tinct Nicholson stumbled to his feet, the frail, uncon- 
scious burden in his arms. 

"Please make way," be said. "I do not think 
she is badly hurt, but she must be taken home at once. 
Stafford, go and see if the carriage is there." 

His own (ace was singed, and one of his hands 
badly burnt, but he did not seem to notice his own 
injuries. Colonel Carmichael, who had entered the 
hall with him at the moment of the accident, helped 
to clear the road. His features in the half-light 
were grey with the fear of those last few moments. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



224 THE NATIVE BORN 

"You have saved our little girl t" he said broken- 
ly to Nicholson. "You have saved her life. God 
bless you for it, Adaml" 

"That's all right," was the cheerful answer. "You 
know. Colonel, Lois and I were always helping 
each other out of scrapes, and I expect it was my 
turn." He looked down at the pate face against 
his shoulder, and there was an unconscious tender* 
ness in his expression which touched the shaken 
old man's heart. 

"She will be glad to hear it was you, Adam," he 
said. "You were always her favorite," 

They had reached the great doors, which the Rajah 
himself had Hung wide open, when Travers sprang 
up the steps to meet them. He was dishevelled, 
breathless, and exhausted as though with hard run- 
ning, and his eyes, as they flashed from one to the 
other of the little procession, were those of a mad- 
man. 

"What has happened?" he demanded frantically. 
"I was outside with Webb. What has happened? 
— Oh I" He caught sight of Lois in Nicholson's 
arms, and his cry was high and hysterical, like a 
frightened woman's. 

Stafford seized him by the shoulder and dragged 
him back into the now empty hall. 

"Control yourself I" he said roughly. "Don't be- 
have like a fool. She is all right, but they won't 
want you interfering, especially if you can't keep 
your head." 

"They won't want mel" Travers exclaimed, star- 
ing at him. He then broke into a discordant lau^. 
"Why, my good Stafford, they'll have to have me. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FATE 235 

whether they want me or no. Lois is mine — mine, 
I tell you ; and that fellow, Nicholson, bad better look 
to himself — " 

"You are beside yourself, Travers. Nicholson 
saved her life. What do you mean by saying she 
is yours?" 

"She is to be my wife. Who can have more right 
to her than I have?" 

The two men stared at each other through the 
semi-darkness. One by one the lights at the side 
of the hall were extinguished by the softly-moving 
servants. The hushed voices of the departing guests 
died away in the distance. 

"Your wife!" Stafford repeated slowly. "Since 
when is that, Travers?" 

"Since this afternoon. Let me pass I" 

Stafford made no effort to detain him. He stood 
on one side, and Travers hurried down the steps. 
A minute later he was driving his trap down the 
avenue at a pace which boded danger for himself 
and for any who dared to cross his path. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER XVII 

FALSE UGHT. 

THE way to the new Bazaar lay to the right of 
the mine through a forest clearing, and was one of 
Manit's most beautiful roads. Of late, increased 
traffic had held the English pleasure<seekers from 
their once favorite haunt, and in this early eve- 
ning hour the bullock wagons had not as yet begun 
their journeyings to and from the residential quar- 
ter to the Bazaar, and the road was pleasantly 
quiet and peaceful. Hitherto Beatrice had kept her 
thoroughbred at a constant and exhausting canter, 
but here, against her resolution, she pulled up to 
a walk and let the cool scented air from the pines 
blow gently and caressingly against her hot cheeks. 

"This is one of the moments which Fate herself 
can not take from us," she said to her companion. 
"It is perhaps a very brief moment, but it is un- 
clouded. We are just glad and happy to be alive 
in such a lovely world, and all the outward circum- 
stances which make our lot hard and bitter are for- 
gotten. Great and little worries are put on one side, 
and we can feel like children to whom the past and fu- 
ture is nothing and the present everything." 

"I know what you mean," Nehal Singh answered, 
"and the hours spent with you are always those which 
no one can ever take from me." 
226 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FALSE LIGHT 227 

- She bent over her horse and stroked the glossy 
coat with her gloved hand. Then she remembered 
that she would never ride him again, and the 
thought pained her. It was his horse, and this was 
their last ride tc^ther, though he did not know it. 
She was going to tell the truth — or something like 
the truth — now. No, not now — later on, when they 
turned homeward. Then she would tell him, and it 
would be well over. But there was no hurry. All that 
was still in the future. The moment was hers — a happy 
moment full of unalloyed charm such as she had never 
known in her barren, profitless life. She was not go- 
ing to throw it away unless he forced her, and hitherto 
he had made no attempt to lead the conversation out of 
the usual channels. 

It was the first time that they were alone to- 
gether since the eventful evening at the club, and 
in the intervening week enough had happened to 
give them food for intercourse. By mutual con- 
sent, the accident of the chandelier was not touched 
upon. Nehal Sii^h, though promising to investigate 
the matter thoroughly, had shown a distress out 
of proportion to his responsibility, and it was under- 
stood that for some reason or another, the subject 
was painful to him. On the other hand, he had 
shown a lively and warm-hearted interest in Lois' 
recovery. She had sustained little more than a se- 
vere shock, and he had been constant in his atten- 
tions, as though striving to atone for an injury 
he had unwittingly done her. The accident had also 
served to deepen his interest in Adam Nicholson. 

"That is a man !" he had said to Beatrice, as they 
had spoken of his presence of mind, and his en- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



228 THE NATIVE BORN 

thusiasm had rung like a last echo of his old boyish- 
ness. "I can not understand why Travers seems to dis- 
like him so." 

Beatrice had made no reply. She had her own 
ideas on the matter, having a quick eye for expres- 
sions, and she knew that the news of Lots* engage- 
ment had been a shock both to Nicholson and to 
the Carmichaels. Travers was one of those men 
whom the world receives with open arms in society, 
but repudiates at the entrance to the family circle ; 
and of this fact Travers himself was bitterly con- 
scious. And, on the other hand, there was Nichol- 
son, the accepted and cherished friend, to whom 
the world looked with unreserved respect and de- 
served admiration. It was not altogether surpris- 
ing that the two men had little in common, and on 
Travers' side there was added a certain amount of 
satisfied spite. His instinct told him that he had 
won Lois at the critical moment, and that another 
twenty-four hours would have seen her safe under 
die reawakening influence of an old, only half-for- 
gotten friendship ; and Nicholson, too, felt dimly that 
a cunning and none too scrupulous hand had shat- 
tered a secret hope that he had cherished from his 
first year in India. Altogether, there was a stiff- 
ness between them which the world was quick to 
recc^nize without understanding. But Beatrice had 
made her observations, and, as it has been said, had 
come to a definite conclusion. Her interest in Lois was 
now thoroi^hly aroused, and the vision of a dark, suf- 
fering little face against a white pillow recurred to her 
as she walked her horse beside Nehal Singh's. As 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FALSE LIGHT 229 

they passed out of the wood, her cnmpanioa lifted his 
whip and pointed in front of them. 

"Look!" he said. 

She raised her hand to the rim of her helmet, 
shading her eyes from the dazzHng sun, and gazed 
in the direction which he indicated. 

"Why I" she exclaimed, smiling, " a model world, 
Rajah 1" 

"Yes," he answered, "that is what I have tried 
to make it. I do not think plague or disease will 
ever find firm foothold here, and one day my people 
will learn to do for themselves what I do for them. 
They are as yet no more than children who have 
to be taught what is good and bad. There is the 
chief overseer." 

A respectable looking Hindu, who stood at the door 
of his hut, salaamed profoundly. It was as though he 
had given some secret signal, for in an instant the 
broad street was alive with dark, scantily clad figures, 
who bowed themselves to the dust and raised cries of 
welcome as the Rajah and his companion picked their 
way among them. It was a picturesque scene, not 
without its pathos ; for their joy was sincere and their 
respect heartfelt. Beatrice glanced at Nchal Singh. A 
flush had crept up under his dark skin, and his eyes 
shone with suppressed enthusiasm. 

"Is their homage so precious to you?" she asked. 

"It is a sign that I have power over them," he 
answered, "and that is precious to me. Without 
power I could not do anything. They believe that 
I am God-sent, and so they obey blindly. Other- 
wise, these changes would have been impossible." He 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



330 THE NATIVE BORN 

paused, smiling to himself ; then, witH a new amuse- 
ment in his dark eyes, he looked at Beatrice. "My peo- 
ple are not fond of an over-abundance of clothing," he 
observed. "Do you consider a diange in that respect es- 
sential?" 

Beatrice stared at him, and then, seeing that he 
was laughing, she laughed with htm. 

"Certainly not I If the poor wretches knew what 
we poor Europeans have to suffer with our artificial 
over-abundance, their obedience would stop short at 
such a request. What made you think of such a 
thmg?" 

"It was Mr. Berry who spoke to me about it He 
said I ought to insist on them having what he called 
decent attire. It seems he had been using his in- 
fluence in vain, and was very unhappy about it. He 
said as much that — that trousers were the first and 
most necessary step toward salvation." He looked 
quickly at her to see if she was offended at his out- 
spokenness, but she only laughed. 

"Poor Mr. Berry is a Philistine," she said. "He 
can't help thinking absurdities of that sort." 

"Would you mind telling me what you mean by 
a Philistine?" he asked. 

"A Philistine is a person who sees everything ini- 
its wrong proportions," she answered. "He mis- 
takes the essential for the unessential, and vice 
versa. He can never recognize the beauty in art or 
nature, because he can never get any further than 
the unpleasant details. One might call him a men- 
tal earth-worm who has only the smallest possible 
outlook. Mr. Berry, for instance, has never, I feel 
sure, felt the charm of India and its people. He is 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FALSE LIGHT J3> 

always too overpowered by the fact that the cloth- 
ing is too scanty for his idea of decency. Yon must 
not take him as an example of European taste, al- 
though you will find only too many like him." 

"I am glad to have your reassurance," Nehal Sing^ 
replied. "Mr. Berry angered me, and I can well 
understand that he has no influence among my peo- 
ple. They are very innocent in their way, and they 
can not understand where the wickedness lies. Nor 
do I wish them to understand. It does not seem to 
me necessary." His mouth settled in a new and 
rather stern line. "I shall order Mr. Berry to leave 
them in peace." 

She smiled at this little outburst of autocracy. 

"You do not wish your people to become Chris- 
tians?" she asked. 

"I shall not interfere in their religion," was the 
quick answer — "or, at any rate, I shall force noth- 
ing. If my people believe truly and earnestly in 
their gods, I shall not destroy their belief, for then 
they will believe in nothing. And the belief is 
everything. As for me" — his voice sank and grew 
suddenly gentler — "I am different. I have been led 
by a light which I must follow." 

After a moment's thoughtful silence he changed 
the subject and began pointing out to her the im- 
provements he had brought about in the native 
dwellings. Even Beatrice, who had seen littJe of the 
old conditions, felt that the change was almost 
incredible. A conservative, indolent and super- 
stitious people had within a few months been trans- 
ferred from loathsome dirt and squalor into a "mod- 
el village" such as an English workman might have 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



aj3 THE NATIVE BORN 

envied. Nehal Sing^h showed her the houses at 
the end of the Bazaar which belonged to the chief 
men, or those responsible to him for the cleanliness 
and order of the community. Small, prettily planted 
gardens separated one low dwelling from the other, 
and each bore its stamp of individuality, as though 
the owner had tried by some new and quaint de- 
vice to outdo his neighbor. 

"Of course," Nehal Singh explained to her, as 
they turned homeward, "there are men with whom 
nothing can be done. They have spent their lives 
as beggars, and can not work now even if they would. 
For such I have made provision, although they, too, 
have been given small tasks to keep them from aj4>ear- 
ing beggars. But they are the last of their kind. There 
shall in future be no idlers in Marut. From thencefor- 
ward every man shall work honesUy and faithfully for 
his daily bread, and I will see that he has no need to 
starve. The mine will employ the strongest, and then, 
later, Travers and I intend to revive the various indus- 
tries suited to the people's taste and talent." 

"You have already done a great deal," she said, 
moved to real admiration. "I tremble to think what 
it has cost you." As she spoke, the hidden irony 
in her casually spoken words came home to her, 
and she felt the old fear clutch at her heart 

"I have given the best I have — myself," he an- 
swered gravely. "Of material wealth I have only- 
retained what is beautiful ; for beauty must not be 
sold to be given as bread among the poor. That 
would be a crime — as though one would sell Heaven 
for earth. Travers wished me to sell the old jew- 
eled statues and relics, but I would not. Tbex be- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FALSE LIGHT 233 

long to my people, and one day, when they have 
learned to see and understand, they will thank me that 
I have kept the splendors intact for them." 

"Yon are wise," she said thoughtfully — "wiser 
than Travers and many others." 

"In my first enthusiasm, I meant to sell every- 
thing, and live as the poorest of them all," he went 
on; "but I soon saw that that was wrong. The 
man into whose hands wealth is given has a great 
task set him. He has a power denied to others. He 
can collect and preserve all that is beautiful in art 
and nature — not for himself, but for those who 
otherwise would never see anything but what is 
poor and squalid and commonplace. True, he must 
also strive to alleviate the sufferings of their bodies, 
so that their minds may be free to enjoy ; but he 
must not sacrifice the higher for the lower task — 
that would surely be the work of what you call a 
Philistine. And his higher task is to feed their 
souls with all that is lovely and stainless. Has not 
the Master said, 'A man shall not live by bread 
alone'? Is it not true? And again, I have read: 
'What profiteth it a man tf he gain the whole world 
and lose his own soul ?' And is not the man who 
sits, fed and clothed, in a low, flat, level world of 
mud-huts in danger of foi^etting that there were 
ever such wonders as the minarets of a high. Heaven- 
aspiring temple? Will he not grow to think that 
there is nothing more beautiful than a mud-hut, 
nothing more to be desired than his daily bread? 
I have thought of all this, and I have preserved 
my palace and everything that it contains. I have 
preserved it for my people. It shall be for them 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



334 THE NATIVE BORN 

a goal and eDcouragement, a voice speaking to them 
day by day from the high towers: 'See what the 
hands of thy fathers have created I Thou people 
in the low dwellings, arise and do greater things 
still, for the great and beautiful is nearest God' I" 

He stopped abruptly, shaken by his own passion- 
ate enthusiasm. His fine head raised, his eyes flash- 
ing, his hand extended, he could have stood for the 
6tatue of some inspired prophet. 

"You are a modern Buddha," she said, smiling 
faintly. . Inwardly she was comparing him to Mr, 
Berry— Mr. Berry, whose highest ideal in life was 
to bring everything down to a nice, shabby, ortho- 
dox level. 

Nehal Singh's hand dropped to his side and he 
looked at her earnestly. 

"That is what they say," he answered. "My peo- 
ple say that I am the tenth Avatar. But I am not. 
I am only a man — scarcely so much. A few months 
ago I was no more than a beggar in the Bazaar, an 
idler and a dreamer. If I have thrown aside my 
false dreams and come out as an untried worker 
into the light of truth, it is because I have been led 
by God — throug^i you." 

Every trace of color fled from her face, and the 
dear eyes which met his from beneath the broad 
helmet distended as though at some sudden shock. 
In the course of their earnest but impersonal con- 
versation she had almost forgotten what was to 
come. This was the end of the ride, this was the 
to-morrow, the inevitable to-morrow of those who 
procrastinate with the inevitable. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FALSE LIGHT 235 

"I — I have done nothings," she said, striving to 
hush down the rising tide of suffocating emotion. 

"Yes, it is nothing. I know it is nothing, but it 
may still become something," he answered. "Or 
is it not already something? Is it not something 
that you have led me to the feet of the Great Teach- 
er? Is it not something that I am awake and stand- 
ing on the threshold of a new Earth and Heaven, 
as yet blinded by the light, but with every day 
gaining courage and strength to go forward? Do 
not say that this is nothing — ^you to whom I owe 
all that I am and ever shall be !" 

She threw back her fair head. Now was the 
time to call to her aid all her cynicism, all the shal- 
low, heartless skepticism which had hitherto ruled 
her character. Now was the time to laugh and to 
throw into this man's face what she had been glad 
and satisfied to throw into the faces of a dozen 
other men — the biting acid of her mockery. But 
she could not laugh — she could not laugh at this 
man. Her tongue cleaved to the roof of her mouth, 
her throat seemed thick with a suffocating dust, so 
that she could make no sound. 

"God forgive me if I have boasted of my own 
progress," he went on earnestly. "I know too well 
how much of the long road I have still to travel. It 
could not be otherwise. I can not reach in a few 
months what men have attained who have always 
lived in the light of truth. Bat I have hope, I carry 
in my heart your image and the ideal you have set me — 
the ideal of your race." 

Then speech was given her. 



:,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



336 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Cast that ideal out!" she said wildly and reck- 
lessly. "It is too low for you. You have passed it. 
You never needed it Choose your own ideal, and 
forget me — forget us all. We can teach you noth- 
ing." She caught her breath as though she would 
have called back her own words. They were not 
the words she had meant to speak. They did not 
sound like her own. They had been put in her 
mouth by a force within her whose existence had 
been revealed to her, as a hidden volcanic mountain 
is revealed, by a sudden fierce upheaval, which 
threw off all the old rubbish loading the surface 
of her nature. It was only a momentary upheaval. 
The next minute she was trying to save herself be- 
hind the old flippant subterfuges. "I am talking 
nonsense !" she exclaimed, with a short angry laugh. 

"Then it is not true what you said?" He had 
urged his horse close to hers, and she could almost 
feel the intensity with which his eyes were fixed 
upon her face. That gaze stifled her laughter, drove 
her deeper into the danger she was striving to es- 
cape. 

"Yes, it is true !" she answered between her teeth. 

His strong hand rested upon hers and held it 
with a gentleness which paralyzed her strength. 

"If it is true, then the time has come 1" he said. 
"The hour has struck which God ordained for us 
both. Beatrice, I may tell you now what you have 
surely known since the day we stood together be- 
fore the altar — I love you. You are the first and 
last woman in my world." His voice pierced 
through to her senses through waves of roaring, 
confusing sound. Her heart beat till it became un- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FALSE UGHT 237 

bearable torture. "Do you remember that second 
evening?" he went on, "The priest tried to stop you 
at the gate of the sanctuary, but I spoke to him, 
and be let you pass. You asked me what I had 
said, but I would not tell you — not then. Now I 
may: 'This is the woman whom God has given 
me — ' " 

She flung his hand violently from her. 

"You must not say that I" she cried, with desper- 
ate resolution. "You must not say that sort of thing 
— to me." 

"Why should I not? I love you." 

"You must not love me. I — I am to be Captain 
Stafford's wife." 

"Beatrice!" His cry of incredulous pain drove 
her to frantic measures. 

"It is true. I swear It." 

Then it was all over. He made no protest. He 
rode by her side as though he had been turned to 
stone, rigidly upright, his hand hanging lifeless 
at his side, his face expressionless. She felt that 
she had struck right at his life's vitality — that she 
had killed him. Yet it was not remorse that blinded 
her till the white road became a shimmering blur — 
it was a frightful personal pain which was hers and 
hers alone. Neither spoke. They passed a crowd 
of natives returning to the Bazaar. They salaamed, 
but Nchal Singh made no response, as was his wont. 
He did not seem to see them. Mechanically he 
guided his horse through the bowing crowd. The 
silence became unbearable. She had flippantly told 
herself that as long as he did not make a "scene" 
she would be satisfied. He had not made a "scene." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



238 THE NATIVE BORN 

From the moment that she had made her final dec- 
laration he had not spoken, and now she was pray- 
ing that he would say something to her — anything, 
she did not care what, only not that terrible ac- 
cusatory silence. At last, in desperation, she be- 
gan to make it up with him as she had planned — 
in an incoherent, helpless way. 

"I have hurt you," she stammered. "Forgive me 
— I did not mean to. It has all been a cruel mis- 
take. I looked upon you as a friend. How could 
I tell that you meant more than that? If I have 
deceived you, I can only ask you with all my heart 
to forgive me." 

He turned his head and looked at her. His eyes 
were dull and clouded, as thou^ a film bad been drawn 
across them. 

"Not you have deceived me," he answered quietly. 
"I have deceived myself. I thought I was follow- 
ing a great God-sent light. It was nothing more 
than a firefly glittering through my darkness. You 
are not to blame." 

He was already casting contempt at the influence 
which she had exercised over him ; he was cutting 
himself free from her — as she had desired, as was 
inevitable. Yet, with a foolish, senseless anger, she 
sought to draw him back to her and hold him, if 
only by the reverence for what had been. 

"Do not despise our friendship!" she pleaded. 
"If it has not been what you thought it was, has it 
any the less opened the gates of Heaven and earth, 
as you said? What I have given you is good — ^the 
very best I had to g^ve. The ideal was a high one. 
1 helped you toward it with my friendship. Is it 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FALSE LIGHT 239 

bad because it was only friendship — because it 
couldn't be more than that? You do not know," 
she went on, with a forced attempt to appear cheer- 
ful and matter-of-fact, "you do not know how much 
your trust and confidence has been to me. I have 
been so proud to help you. If I bad ever thought 
it would Come to this — I would have stopped long 

So she lied, clinging to his respect as though it 
had been her salvation. And he believed her. His 
face relaxed, and for the first time she saw clearly 
what he was enduring. 

"I do not despise our — friendship, even though 
it must end here," he said. "What you have given 
me I shall always keep — always. I shall not turn 
back because I must go on alone. Your image shall 
still guide me in my life. It is not less pure and 
noble because I can not ever call it my own." She 
heard his voice break, but he went on quietly and 
gently: "I pray you may be happy with the man 
you love." 

She had conquered. She had kept her place in 
his life at the same time that she was thrusting him 
out of her own. He would continue undeterred 
along the road on to which she had tempted hira — 
perhaps to his destruction — ^believing in her, trust- 
ing in her as no other being had ever done or would 
do. This much she had snatched from the wreck- 
age. 

They did not speak again until they reached her 
bungalow. Then he dismounted and, quietly motion- 
ing the syce to one side, helped her to the 
ground. 

DiqilizDdbyGoOgle 



3Ap THE NATIVE BORN 

"It is for the last time," he said "Good-by, Lak- 
shmil" 

"Good-by I" 

She could not lift her eyes to his face, but from 
the top of the steps she was tempted to look back. 
He stood where she had left him, his hand resting 
on her saddle, his head bent, and there was some- 
thing in his attitude which sent her hurrying into 
the house without a second glance. 

She found her mother waiting for her in her room, 
whither she fled to be alone and undisturbed to 
fight and stamp out the pain that was aching 
in her heart. Mrs, Cary, wonderfully curled and 
powdered, received her daughter with unusual rap- 
ture. 

"My dear!" she exclaimed, kissii^ Beatrice on 
both cheeks, "I am so glad you have come back 
early ! Captain Stafford is here, and has something 
for you — I shouldn't be surprised if it was a ring, 
you lucky child! Did I not tell you he was the 
very husband for you? He has been telling me 
all about Lois and Travers. Everybody is quite 
pleased about it. Now hurry up and make yourself 
pretty. Why, what's the matter? You look so 
— so queer 1" 

Beatrice pushed past her mother and, goii^ to 
the table, flung herself down as though exhausted. 

"It's nothing," she muttered. "Tell — John I can't 
see him. I'm tired — ill — anything you like." 

"Beaty, I won't do anything of the sort. What 
has happened? Is it that horrid Rajah? Did you 
tell him?" 

"Yes." 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FALSE UGHT mi 

"And he made a scene, my poor Beaty?" 

"No." 

"Can't you answer me properly? Tell ine what 
happened." 

"He asked me to marry him." 

Mrs. Cary first gasped, and then burst into a 
loud, cackling laugh. 

"He asked you to many him I That colored man ! I 
hope you laughed in his face ?" 

Beatrice turned, one clenched hand resting on 
the Uble. 

"No," she said, "I did not laugh — there was noth- 
ing to laugh at. I have kept my promise to you." 
Then, unexpectedly she buried her face in her arms 
and burst into tears. 

Mrs. Cary stood there thunderstruck, her mouth 
open, her eyes wide with alarm. For one moment 
she was incapable of reasoning out this catastrophe. 
She had never seen Beatrice cry — her tears, because 
of their rarity, were as terrible as a man's, and could 
not be explained away by nerves or fatigue. This was 
something else. Mrs. Cary crossed the room. She 
laid a fat, trembling hand on her daughter's 
shoulder. 

"Beaty, what's the matter?" she asked uneasily. 
"What is it? Are you ill?— or— or — Beaty!" — a 
light dawning across her dull face — "good heavens! 
you don't love that man?" There was no answer. 
After a long moment, Mrs. Gary's hand fell to her 
side. "You couldn't!" she muttered. "It wouldn't 
do. Think of what people would sayl Our posi- 
tion!" Still no answer. She turned and stumbled 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



34a THE NATIVE BORN 

toward tKe door. "I will tell the captain — yoa are ill," 
she said. 
Beatrice did not move. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BOOK II 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BUILDING THE CATHEDKAL 

THE pretty little drawing-room was already in 
half darkness. Travers went to the window and, 
leaning his shoulder lazily against the casement, 
began to sort out and open the letters that had been 
lying on the tea-table waiting for him. 

"One from the Colonel, Lois," he said, after a 
moment's perusal. "No news in particular. He is 
down with a touch of fever, and the whole regiment 
is camping out without him. Stafford's marriage 
still hanging fire. Silly girl ! What's she waiting 
for, in the name of conscience?" 

Lois looked up from her duties at the table. 

"They have been engaged over a year," she said. 

"As long as we have been engaged and married," 
he answered with an affectionate smile. "How long 
is that, little woman? About eighteen months, eh? 
They don't either of them seem in much of a hurry." 

He went on reading, only stretching out his hand 
mechanically as she brought him his second cup of 
tea. Lois remained at his side, her eyes fixed 
thoughtfully, almost hungrily, on the torn envelope 
which lay on the floor at his feet. 

"Why did you call Beatrice Cary a silly girl?" 
she asked at last. "It never struck me that she was 
silly." 

445 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



346 THE NATIVE BORN 

"She wasn't, but she will be if she doesn't hold 
Stafford fast." 

A shadow passed over the face still turned to the 
floor. 

"Is Stafford — so — so desirable?" 

"His money is, dear child, and the Carys may 
need money in the near future." 

"I thought they were rich?" 

"Their money is in the mine." 

"But the mine is to be successful?" 

He smiled in good-natured amusement at her 
persistency. 

"Have you ever heard of a mine that wasn't to 
be successful? If you watt a moment, I will tell 
you the latest news. Here's a note from the Rajah." 
He tore open the large square envelope, and went 
on reading with the same idle interest. "There's 
been an accident with the blasting," he observed 
casually. "Five men killed. Our native friend is, 
of course, in a fever. Has pensioned all the fam- 
ilies. I don't know where he will land us with his 
extravagances. We shall want all the money we 
can get for repairing the damage. Philanthropy 
is becoming a sort of disease with him. Fortunately, I 
am not bitten so far," He laughed, and threw the let- 
ter to one side. "I expect I shall have to run up north 
to put things straight." 

"Hasn't the mine brought in enough ?" Lois an- 
swered innocently. 

"Enough?" He looked at her with a twinkle in 
his bright eyes. "Dear girl, it hasn't paid so much 
as a quarter of its expenses." 

"But will it ever?" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BUILDING THE CATHEDRAL 247 

"Heaven knows — or perhaps even Heaven does 
not I'm sure I don't," 

"You talk so calmly about it!" she exclaimed, 
aghast. "Surely you are heavily involved — and not 
only you, but the Rajah and the people in Marut?" 

He patted her on the cheek. 

"Don't worry on that score," he assured her, "Be- 
sides, it's not my way to sit dowm and cry over 
what can't .be helped. I dare say I shall pull 
through somehow." 

"Yes, you, perhaps," 

He changed color slightly under the challenge in her 
eyes, but his expression remained unruffled. 

"Ydu are not exactly a very trusting wife, are 
you, Lois? It comes of letting a woman have a 
look into business. Never mind, we won't argue 
the subject all over again. I know what you think 
of me. There, good-by. I must be off again. Nichol- 
son will be around shortly. I told him he would find 
me at home." 

"Had you not better wait for him, then?" 

"Oh, no. I only told him I should be at home 
as a sort of fa(on de parler. He only comes when 
he thinks I am there — admirable person — and I 
know you like to have old friends about Good-by, 
dear." 

"Good-by." She accepted his kiss listlessly, and 
when he had gone went back to the window. 

The window bad become Lois Travers' vantage- 
point of life. From thence she could overlook the 
bustling Madras square into which four streets 
poured their unending stream, and build her fancies 
about each one of the atoms as they passed uncon- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



248 THE NATIVE BORN 

sciously beneath her gaze. Some of the faces were 
well known to her. They always passed at the time 
when she took her sewing and sat by the window, 
pretending to work by the fading glow of evening 
light, and about each she wove a simple little story, 
always, or nearly always, happy. She imagined the 
men returning from business to their homes. If 
there was ever a cloud upon their brow, she smiled 
to think how the trouble would be brushed away 
by loving hands ; if their step were more than usual- 
ly light and elastic, her own heart grew lighter 
with the thought that they were hurrying back to 
the source of thdr happiness. 

Lois lived on the real or imagined joys of others. 
She clung to her air castles in which her unknown he- 
roes lived, building them more beautifully, fitting them 
out with more perfect content, as her own brick 
dwelling grew darker and more desolate. She felt that 
if ever she let go her hold on them she would lose faith 
in human happiness, and thus in Hfe itself. For be- 
tween Lois Travers the woman and Lois Travers 
the light-hearted, high-spirited girl there stretched 
a year's gulf. Marriage had been to her what it is 
more or less to all women — a Rubicon, a Book of 
Revelations in which girlish ideals are rarely real- 
ized, sometimes modified, more often destroyed. 

Qever and pliable women, women with the "art of 
living" do not allow their hearts to be broken in the 
latter event, supposing them to have relaxed their 
cleverness so far as to have had ideals at all; but 
Lois was not clever or pliable, and her ideals had 
been destroyed. She had loved John Stafford, and 
in some inexplicable way he had failed her. She 



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BUILDING THE CATHEDRAL 249 

had given her life into Travers' hands in the belief 
that he needed her for his progress, and that in 
helping him her idle powers of love and devotion 
would not be wasted.. Too late she realized — what no 
woman ever realizes tmtil it is too late — that the man 
who needs a woman for his salvation is already far be- 
yond her help. 

Beneath Lois' light-heartedness and love of gai- 
ety there lurked a spirit of Puritanism which had 
drawn her to Stafford, and now brought her into 
violent conflict with Travers' fundamental frivolity. 
In the first month of their marriage she had had to 
admit that she had reached the bottom of his char- 
acter, and found nothing there — not so much as a 
deeply planted vice. He had pretended a depth of 
feeling which was only in part sincere, and he was 
too lazy to keep up a pretense when his chief ob- 
ject was gained. He really cared for Lois, but he 
had wilfully exag^rated the rdle she played in his 
life. Always good-natured and kindly, he never 
allowed her to ruffle or anger him. She had never 
seen him rough or cruel to any human being, and 
all these superficial virtues forced her farther from 
him. 

A few significant incidents had revealed to her that 
his good nature covered a cold-blooded indifference 
where his own interests were vitally concerned. His 
apparent pliability hid a dexterity which evaded every 
recognized principle. In vain she exerted the influence 
with which he had pretended to invest her. The first 
effort proved that it had never really existed. It was 
no more in his life than the valuable ornament on his 
mantel-shelf — a thing to be dusted, preserved, and ad- 



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2SO 7HE NATIVE BORN 

mired in leisure hours, never set to serious use. This 
last discovery, made shortly after their arrival in Mad- 
ras, had broken her. From that moment she had 
felt herself crippled. Her life became a blank, col- 
orless waste, all the more terrible because of the 
mirages with which it was lighted. The world saw 
the mirages: the good-looking, genial-tempered 
husband ; the well-furnished house ; all the outward 
symptoms of an irrefutably satisfactory and success- 
ful life. 

Only one person perhaps saw deeper, and that was 
Nicholson. He had been ordered for a year to Madras, 
and thus it came about that they often met. Travers' 
first dislike for the officer had evaporated, and he 
seemed rather to insist on an increase of their intimacy, 
inviting Nicholson constantly to the house. And in 
those long evening visits Nicholson had seen what oth- 
ers did not see and what Lois kept hidden in her own 
heart. For she had told no one that the mirages were 
no more than mirages — that her life still lacked all the 
vital elements of reality and sincerity. She was proud, 
and not even the people in dear old Marut suspected 
that she was stifling in the hot Madras air and in the 
unhealthy atmosphere of small lies and loose prin- 
ciples in which Travers was so thoroughly at home. 
Only Nicholson's sensitive temperament felt what 
others neither beard nor saw. 

So a year had passed, and every evening Lois 
sat by the window, watching the busy crowd, and 
building up their lives as she had once dreamed of 
building up her own. She scarcely thought of her- 
self. Memories are dangerous. The present was 



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BUILDING THE CATHEDRAL 251 

too real to be considered, and the future too blank 
and hopeless. 

The darkness increased. Twilight yielded to 
nightfall, and the yellow lights sprang up in the 
shops opposite her window. She heard the door 
open, but did not turn, thinking it was her husband 
unexpectedly returned. 

"Shall I light the lamp?" she asked. 

It was not Travers who answered. A familiar 
voice struck on her ears, like the memories, ring- 
ing out a dangerous response from her tired soul. 

"Forgive me, Mrs. Travers. I met your husband 
this afternoon, and he told me to drop in unan- 
nounced, as he would be alone. It seems the other 
way about. I am very sorry to seem so rude." 

Lois rose quickly to her feet. She saw Nichol- 
son standing in the doorway, tall, upright, his face 
hidden by the shadow. 

"I won't disturb you," he added, after a moment's 
hesitation. 

The tone of formality hurt her. With a return 
of her old impulsiveness, she began searching for 
the matches. 

"You are not disturbing me," she said. "On the 
contrary, I — was expecting you. Archibald told 
me you were coming, but I forgot to li^t up. I was 
twilight-dreaming, if there is such a term," 

She laughed with a forced cheerfulness, and he 
made no answer. The little red-shaded lamp gave 
her some trouble, and when she looked up she saw 
that he was standing opposite her, the light falling 
on a broad scar across his forehead. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



252 THE NATIVE BORN 

"How the bum shows to-night 1" she exclaimed 
involuntarily. "Will you never lose it?" 

"Never," he answered. "I do not want to. When 
I am depressed, I look at it, and remember that I 
have done one thing worth doing in my life." 

"I don't know," she returned. "You have done 
more useful things than that." 

"Not to my mind." 

"Well, but to mine. There, when I have pulled 
the curtains and put the lamp just at your elbow, 
you could almost imagine yourself back in Eng- 
land, couldn't you? Imagine the street outside as 
a bit of London. There could hardly be more noise. 
The idea may refresh you. You look so tired." 

He seated himself in the comfortable wicker chair 
by the table and looked about him with a faint 
smile of content. 

"Yes," he said, "it is homely, isn't it? The red 
light, and the pretty little room, and you sitting 
there working. It might be a corner of the old 
country — or of Marut. Your study was just like 
this, I remember." 

"Yes, I copied it. It made me feel less lonely. 
Only I flatter myself that it is tidier here than it 
used to be in the old days." 

He laughed, and the laughter sent the light shin- 
ing in his eyes. 

"Rather ! When I first joined I had the chemical 
craze on, do you remember? I thought I was go- 
ing to discover some wonderful new gunpowder, and 
we used to experiment together in your room. The 
business came to an untimely end when I blew off 
part of the ceiling — " 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BUILDING THE CATHEDRAL 253 

"And some of my eyebrows I" she interposed mer- 
rily. 

"Yes, of course. I don't know which disaster up- 
set Mrs. Carmichael most, good soul. After that 
I forget what craze came about, but we always had 
a new one on the list, hadn't we?" 

She nodded, her head once more bent over her 
work, 

"None of them lasted," she said. "Crazes never 
do." 

There was a moment's silence. Their little burst 
of gay recollections was over, and the restraint had 
regained its old ascendancy over them. Unknown 
to her, Nicholson was watching his companion 
with keen, anxious eyes. 

"You look pale and tired," he said gently. "Mad- 
ras is getting too much for you. When is Travers 
going to take you for a change?" 

"I don't know. Not just now. Besides, I am 
happier here. I like the noise and bustle." 

"You used not to. You were all for outdoor 
sports and beautiful scenery." 

"Yes, but now it is different. I could not stand 
the quiet. I must have noise to distract me — I 
mean, I have grown so accustomed to it" 

"Yes," he said slowly, "one grows accustomed 
to it." Then, presently, he added, in another tone : 
"At any rate, my term in Madras is at an end, I 
return to Marut next week." 

She started. The start was almost a violent one, 
and her hands fell limply in her lap. 

"You are going back to Marut?" she said, "For 
ever ?" 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



254 THE NATIVE BORN 

He smiled, but his eyes avoided hers. 

"Not for ever, I hope. I am sick of pen-work, 
and want to get back to the front among my men. 
There is a company of sepoys to be stationed at 
Marut, and they have given me the command. It's 
a good post, though of course I would rather be at 
the frontier, where there's something doing. At 
any rate, I must get away from Madras as soon as 
possible." 

"Yes," she said absently, "no doubt it is best." 

She went on stitching as though nothing had hap- 
pened, but her hands trembled, and once she threw 
back her head as though fighting down a strong 
emotion. But he had ceased to watch her. He was 
leaning a little forward, one elbow resting on his 
knee, his eyes fixed steadfastly in front of him. 

"Can I be the bearer of any messages?" he asked 
at last. 

"No, thank you. I write regularly. Or — yes, you 
might tell them that you left me well and happy. That 
will please them. Will you be so kind?" 

"Will it be kind to give a message which is not 
quite true? — I mean," he added hastily, "you do 
not seem strong." 

"Oh, I am strong enough. I do not think I shall 
ever be ill." 

Another long and painful silence intervened. 
There was no sound, save Lois' thread as it was 
drawn through the thick material. Nicholson drew 
out his watch. 

"You mustn't think me rude, Mrs. Travers," he 
said, with an abrupt return to his old formality, 
"but I have any amount of work to do before I 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BUILDING THE CATHEDRAL 255 

leave, and among other things I wanted to see your 
husband on business. He told me the other day 
that he had some shares in the Marut Company 
going, and said if I would care for them — " 

Her work dropped from her hand to the floor. 
She stared at him with a face whiter than the linen 
she had been stitching. 

"But you are not going to buy them?" she asked 
sharply. Something in her tone forced him to meet 
her eyes, 

"Oh, I don't know. Why not? I'm a poor busi- 
ness man, and your husband always seems to come off 
well in his ventures. Without being in the least 
a speculator, I should be glad to make a little mon- 
ey." He smiled. "I have another craze on, you 
see — a gun this time — and it requires capital to 
complete. So I thought — " 

She leaned forward. One small hand lay clenched 
on the table between them, and there was a force 
and energy in her attitude which arrested his 
startled attention. 

"I think you are mistaken. Captain Nicholson," 
she said. "My husband has no shares to sell." 

"But yesterday he told me that he had!" 

"Yes, yesterday, no doubt. But he heard to-day 
from the Rajah. I think, if you do not mind wait- 
ing, he will tell you himself that what I say is true." 

For a second they looked straight at each other 
without speaking. Neither was conscious of any 
clear thought, but both knew that in that breathing 
space they had exchanged a signal from those hid- 
den chambers which men unlock only in brief mo- 
ments of silent crisis. The crisis had come in spite 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



256 THE NATIVE BORN 

of a year's defiant struggle. It had broken down 
the barrier of trivial commonplaces behind which 
they had always sought shelter; it had rushed over 
them in a flash, like a sudden tidal wave, scorning 
their painfully erected defenses, driving them help- 
lessly before it. It had no apparent cause, save that 
in that moment of alarm she had looked at him 
with her soul unguarded, and he, overwhelmed by 
that silent revelation, had allowed his own sternly 
repressed secret to flash hack its breathless mes- 
sage. Nicholson was the first to regain his self- 
control. He bent down and, picking up her work, 
restored it gently to her hands. 

"You must go on with your sewing," he said. "I 
like seeing you work. It cwnpletes the picture of a 
— home — " 

"Yes," she interrupted, in a rough, broken voice. 
"It is a perfect picture, is it not? Just so, as it is — 
only, of course — " she laughed as he had never 
heard her laugh before — "of course it's only a tab- 
leau — it isn't rekl," 

Once more her head was bent over her work. He 
saw how with every stitch she was fighting stubbornly 
for calm — fighting with all the do^ed desperation 
of a high-minded woman who sees herself trem- 
bling at the edge of a bottomless abyss. He knew 
now for certain that her apparent happiness was 
a sham and an heroic lie — that she knew what he 
knew of Travers' outside life, and suffered with the 
intensity which honor must suffer when linked with 
dishonor. He saw, with a soldier's instinctive admira- 
tion, that she was holding her ground against the fierce 
and unexpected attack of an overwhelming enemy, and 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BUILDING THE CATHEDRAL 257 

that he, who had his own battle to fight, must hold out 
to her a helping, strengthening comrade's hand. 

"Lois !" he said quietly. "Lois 1" 

She went on working. The name had been a 
test of her strength, and she had borne it. He knew 
that he could go on with what he had to say. 

"I-ois, we had our young enthusiasms in those 
old days — crazes, we wil! call them — and of course, 
like all young enthusiasms, they are gone for ever. 
But there were other things. Sometimes we used 
to talk very seriously about life, do you remember? 
I dare say we talked nonsense for the greater part 
—we were very young — but we were intensely se- 
rious. We told each other what we thought life 
was, and what we intended to make of it. It was 
then we had the idea of the cathedral." 

She looked up earnestly at him. 

"The cathedral? Haven't you forgotten?" 

"No. I never forgot it." 

"I thought you had. It is all such a long time 
ago. When I read about you in the papers, and 
heard of ill the wonders you had done, I was sure 
you must have forgotten the chatter of your fifteen- 
year-old playfellow, A man who spends his day as 
you did, in the saddle, and the night in long, 
anxious watches, does not liave time for such ideas 
as we cultivated in those days." 

"You are wrong, Lois. The idea is everything. 
It is the miinspring of a man's life. If I did any- 
thing wonc'erful, as you say, it was for the sake of 
the cathedial. There was, for instance, one night 
which I rtmember very well. A whole tribe had 
risen. Half my men were down with fever, and I 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



258 THE NATIVE BORN 

felt — well, pretty bad. I was a bit delirious, I fancy, 
and in delirium very often the foundations of a 
man's character come uppennosL The cathedral was 
always in my mind. I saw your half, and it was get- 
ting on splendidly. That goaded me. I felt I had to 
go on, too. So I pulled myself together and went ahead. 
We pulled through somehow, and I have always felt 
that in that night I laid the chief stone." 

The burning tears sprang to her eyes. 

"So all that splendid work was done for the sake 
of our cathedral ?" 

"Partly, but not in the first place. Do you re- 
member of what use our cathedral was to be in 
the world? It wasn't merely to be a monument to our 
own glory — it was to be a sheltering place for 
others, an example to them, an inspiration. You 
said once, very rightly, that if every here and there 
a human being made a cathedral out of his life, 
other people would soon get ashamed of their mud- 
huts, and pull them down. They would try to build 
cathedrals on a bigger and nobler scale than the 
first one, and probably would succeed. Thus the 
work would go on from one generation to another. 
It was an idea worthy to form the foundations of 
a man's ambition. I made it mine, as I knew you 
had made it yours. It strengthened me to think 
that every decent action was a fresh stone to the 
building which in the end would stand perfect — 
not to my glory, but to the glory of the whole hu- 
man race." He smiled, though his eyes remained 
serious. "As an Englishman, I can not hdp wishing 
that cathedrals should be most plentiful tn English 
soil." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BUILDING THE CATHEDRAL 259 

"Do you really think that one small human life 
can make so much difference?" she asked, rather 
bitterly. "I used to think so, in my self-important 
days, but I am beginning to believe that our little 
individual efforts are hopelessly lost in a sea of 
rubbish," 

"Our youthful conceit is more justifiable than 
such self-disparagement," he answered. "I often 
think that humility — at any rate a certain kind — is 
a questionable virtue. In lessening our own value, 
we lessen our own responsibility, and our responsi- 
bility is tremendous. One life can make the differ- 
ence of a cathedral spire in a town of low-built huts 
or of a snow mountain in an ugly plain. I am sure 
of it — and so are you. So is everybody who thinks 
about it. But people do not think. It is sometimes 
much more convenient to believe that one is too in- 
significant to have any responsibility. But to my 
mind there is not a vagabond in the street who is 
not directly helping on our national decay, and 
who might not be building up the Empire." He 
leaned toward her, lowering his voice. "You know 
I am not just talking, "Lois, It is my life's prin- 
ciple which I lay before you — mine and yours. How 
long is it since we have spoken of these things? 
Ten years. Since then we have been building stead- 
ily at our cathedral. We must go on." 

"How can we?" she answered wearily. "It is 
not our cathedral any more. I thought you had 
forgotten, and — " 

"My first day in Marut I sent a message to you— 
a little in fun, but with an earnest purpose. I 
wanted to see if you had forgotten, and I wanted 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



a6o THE NATIVE BORN 

you to know that I had remembered. I told yon 
that the cathedral still lacked its chief spire." 

"I never got the message. It was that day Arch- 
ibald asked me to be his wife. When did you send 
the letter?" 

"It was not a letter but a verbal message, by 
Travers." 

"That afternoon?" 

"Yes, that afternoon." 

She covered her face with her hand. 

"He — he must have forgotten," she said at last 

"Yes, he must have forgotten," he agreed quietly. 

There was a long silence. She remained motion- 
less, but he heard her breath being drawn in quick, 
painful gasps. The battle for them both was at its 
height. He bent forward and took the hand that 
lay clenched in her lap gently in his own. 

"Dear little Lois, dear little comrade! We are 
like two architects, you and I. We were very young 
when we set out on our great task, and no doubt 
we have made many blunders. In the beginning 
we each hoped secretly that the time would come 
when we should be able to crown our work hand in 
hand. It was that I was thinking of when I sent 
my message. Well, things have turned out differ- 
ently — perhaps throu^ our own fault. But the 
cathedral must go on. Instead of one spire, as we 
had hoped, there will be two spires. You will build 
yours, I mine. They will be far apart, and so we 
of necessity must be apart, too. But the cathedral will 
go on; and in the end — who knows? — it may be more 
perfect than as we saw it in our first great plan," 

"But we might have built together, Adaml" 



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He took her han<l that lay clutched in her lap. Page 260 



Ogle 



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BUILDING THE CATHEDRAL 361 

"Yes. We might even build together now — but 
then it would no longer be a cathedral. It would 
be a mud hovel like the rest. And that would be 
wrong — wrong to the world and wrong to ourselves. 
Have you understood what I mean?" 

He waited patiently, his hand still clasping hers. 
One single piteous tear rolled down her cheek, but 
that was all, and when she looked up at him her 
eyes were calm and steadfast. 

"I understand quite well what you mean," she 
said, "and I know that you are right. God bless 
and help you," 

"And you, Lois," 

They exchanged a firm pressure. Then Nicholson 

"I must be going," he said. "Will you tell Trav- 
ers that I shall be around at the office to-morrow 
morning? If by any chance he has any shares go- 
ing, I should be obliged if he would allot them to 
me." 

Lois rose also. Her face was turned toward the door. 

"If you wait one moment, you will see him your- 
self," she said. "I think I hear him coming up- 
stairs." 

She was right. The next minute the door opened 
quickly and Travers entered. Evidently something 
unusual had happened. In one hand he held an 
open telegram. His face was crimson with ex- 
citement and his lips parted as if with a hasty an- 
nouncement. But as he saw the two standing at the 
table watching him, he stopped short, looking from 
one to the other with a flash of amused curiosity 
in his eyes. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



262 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Hullo, you both here?" he said cheerfully. "How 
cozy you look. See here, Lois, I've just had a tele- 
gram from the Rajah. He wants me to come at once. 
Can you be ready to start in three days?" 

"For Marut?" A rush of color filled her pale cheeks. 

"Yes, of course. By the bye, Nicholson, that's 
your destination, isn't it? We might travel to- 
gether." 

"I think not," was the quiet answer. "I have or- 
ders to start next week." 

"Well, there's no great hurry for us, I expect 
Our friend, Nehal, is of an excitable disposition. 
I hope you haven't had to wait long for me, Nichol- 
son. You said you had some business you wanted 
to talk over with me." 

"Yes, it was about those shares. But if you are 
busy — " 

"Oh, that's all right. It won't take more than a 
few minutes to settle. How much do you want to 
invest? I tell you, my dear fellow, it's a splendid 
thing, and — " 

He was unexpectedly interrupted. He had taken 
out a heavy pocket-book and was busily looking 
through some papers, when Lois laid her hand on his, 

"I think Captain Nicholson is under a misappre- 
hension, Archibald," she said, in a low voice. "He 
said you had some shares to sell him, but I remem- 
bered what you said about the mine, and I told 
him that there must be some mistake. I was quite 
right, wasn't I ?" 

Every word she had spoken sounded emphasized 
as though she were striving to convey a double 
meaning, and the second in which husband and 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



BUILDING THE CATHEDRAL 263 

wife looked at each other was to the puzzled wit- 
ness a painful eternity. With a strong perceptible 
effort, Travers turned away. 

"So my wife has broken the news to you?" he 
aaid, smiling:. "Yes, I'm awfully sorry. Every- 
thing good gets snapped up so confoundedly quick- 
ly. Better luck next time. I was quite dreadii^ 
disappointing you, but Lois, as usual, has taken 
my disag^reeable task from me." He patted the 
hand which still rested on his own. "Stay and 
have a little dinner with us," he added cordially, 
as Nicholson prepared to take his leave. "I'd like 
to make up to you with a little of my best CUquot." 

Nicholson shook bis head. The impression that 
he stood before a veiled and unpleasant comedy 
increased his desire to get away. 

"Thanks, I'm afraid I can't," he said. "I have 
work to do. Good ni^t." 

"Good night. To our next meeting in Manitl" The 
two men shook hands. 

"Good night, Mrs. Travers. You will be able to be 
your own messenger now," Nicholson said. 

She met his glance with quiet courage. 

"They will be able to see with their own eyes 
that things are going well with me," she answered 
simply. 

When the door closed upon Nicholson's tall form 
she went back to her husband's side. He was busy 
consulting time-tables, and hardly seemed aware 
of her approach. Only when she touched him on the 
arm did he look up. 

"Well, what is it?" 

"I want to know if you are angry?" 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



264 THE NATIVE BORN 

"What aboat?" 

"The shares — and Captain Nicholson. I felt it 
was wrong to deceive him. He is not rich, and you 
told me that the mine was a failure." 

"Of course, you have every reason, no doubt, to 
consider your friend before your husband," he said 
with a sudden outburst which he instantly re- 
gretted. He had encouraged — nay, forced — her in- 
timacy with Nicholson. With what purpose? He 
himself hardly knew. Perhaps somewhere at the 
bottom of him he was beginning to dread the hon- 
esty of her character as an unspoken reproach. If 
she were less perfect in her conduct, his own life 
would have seemed less blamable. Or perhaps his 
motives had been more generous. He knew he had 
nothing to give her — and Nicholson was a good 
fellow. At any rate, it was a mistake to have be- 
trayed even a moment's irritation. She had shrunk 
back from him, but he put his hand on her shoulder 
and kissed her. "There ! Of course I am not angry. 
You've lost me a few hundreds, but you're worth it, 
and I dare say it was all for the best. Run and 
write a note to the Colonel and say we are coming, 
there's a good little woman!" 

Lois turned wearily away. He had not under- 
stood her. She considered him more than she bad 
considered Nicholson. She had wanted to save 
him from what she felt was a mean and treacher- 
ous step. But he had not been able to understand. 
Nor could she have explained. Between certain 
characters all real communication is an impossi- 
bility, and words no more than sounds. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CATASTROPHE 

THE tea-room, usually the most animated por- 
tion of the Manit club-house, had lost its cheerful 
appearance. The comfortable chairs had been 
cleared on one side and replaced by a long green 
baize table littered with papers; the doors leading 
on to the verandah were closed, and a stifling at- 
mosphere bore down upon the five occupants who 
were ranged about the table in various attitudes 
of listless exhaustion. 

"I can't think what we have been called here 
for," Mrs. Cary protested loudly ; "and from the 
way we have been locked in, we might be in a state 
of siege. I know I shall faint in a minute. Beatrice, 
pass me my salts, child." 

Her daughter obeyed mechanically, without mov- 
ing her eyes, which were fixed in front of her. 
Colonel Carmichael, who was seated at the far end 
of the table, opposite the Rajah, smiled good- 
naturedly. 

"If you feel yourself justified in grumbling, what 
about me, Mrs. Cary?" he said. "You at least are 
a share-holder, and I suppose there are some fonnali- 
ties to be gone through, but what I have to do with the 
business I can not imagine." 

"Business!" groaned Mrs. Berry from his right. 
265 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



266 THE NATIVE BORN 

"That's the silliest part of it all I What's the gcxxl 
of getting me to talk business? I don't understand 
business ; I never did, and never shall. Why doesn't 
Mr. Travers come? I'm sure I have been waiting 
quite ten minutes." 

"Perhaps the Rajah can give us a clue to the 
mystery," the Colonel suggested. "Rajah, don't 
you think the ladies could be allowed their liberty ? 
I can not think that their presence is so essential." 

Nehal Singh looked up. From the moment he 
had exchanged nothing more than a brief salutation 
with the four Europeans, he had sat with his head 
bent over some papers, reading, or pretending to 
read. The months had brought a new expression 
to his face. Pain had cut her lines into the broad 
forehead; anxiety met the Colonel's questioning 
gaze from eyes which had once flashed happy con- 
fidence and enthusiasm. 

"I am afraid I can give you no answer, Colonel 
Carmichael," he said quietly. "Since Mr. Travers 
has returned to Marut all control over affairs has 
passed out of my hands into his. For some reason, 
I have been kept in ignorance as to the progress of 
events, and I wait here to-day with you as com- 
pletely in the dark as any one. No doubt he will 
be here in a few minutes." 

"With good news, I hope," Mrs. Gary sighed. "I 
also am no sort of a business woman, but I under- 
stand enough to know that if one invests money 
in an honest concern one gets interest sooner or 
later. And so far the Marut Company hasn't paid 
me a penny piece." 

Nehal Singh started slightly, and his glance wan- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CATASTROPHE 267 

dered to the red face of the speaker with an expres- 
sion that was akin to fear. 

"An honest concern!" he repeated. "Do you 
mean that — that it is not honest?" 

Mrs. Cary beamed with recovered equanimity. 

"Good gracious! How could you suppose I 
should mean such a horrid thing, dear Prince! Of 
course everything to which you put your hand is 
hall-marked. Otherwise I should never have 
dreamed of investing my money in the Marut Com- 
pany." 

There was a silence. The Colonel drummed with 
his fingers on the table, watching the native sentry 
who passed stolidly backward and forward in front of 
the closed windows. Mrs. Cary fanned herself and ex- 
changed whispered comments with Mrs. Berry on the 
opposite side. Beatrice remained motionless. From the 
beginning of the meeting she had once raised her eye^— 
on Nehal Singh's entry — and then it had been for no 
more than a second. That second had been enough. She 
had seen his face. She had seen — and it was not her 
imagination, but a real and bitter irony — that of all the 
people in the room she alone had been the object of his 
quiet greeting. She knew then — for her eyes had not 
lost their keenness — that the eighteen months in which 
they had scarcely met had made no difference to him. 
He still reverenced and loved her. For him she was 
still "Lakshmi," the goddess of beauty and perfec- 
tion; for him she was still the ideal, the woman of 
goodness and truth and purity. Her victory over 
him had been complete, eternal. She had betrayed 
him and retained him. Of all her triumphs over 
men and circumstances this was the most perfect. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



268 THE NATIVE BORN 

Yet she sat there, white and still, not lifting her 
eyes from the table, and seemingly unconscious of 
all that went on about her. 

Presently a carriage drove up the avenue. They 
heard Travers' voice giving some orders, and a 
moment later he himself entered, followed by a Mr. 
Medway, his chief mining engineer. He closed the 
door and with a grave bow took his place at the 
table. He seemed indifferent to or unaware of the 
curious and somewhat anxious glances which were 
turned toward him. There was something in his 
appearance which cast an unpleasant chill over 
every one of the little assembly. Even the Colonel, 
though an outsider, felt himself disagreeably im- 
pressed by Travers' new bearing, and the good- 
natured banter which he had held in readiness for 
the new arrival died away on his lips as he re- 
sponded to the cold, formal bow. For some min- 
utes no one spoke. Travers was busy arranging 
some papers which he had brought with him, and 
only when he had laid these out to his satisfaction 
did he rise to address the meeting. He held him- 
self stiffly erect, his fingers resting lightly on the 
table, his pale face turned toward the window as 
though he wished to avoid addressing any one di- 
rectly. The usual geniality was lacking in his com- 
posed features. 

"Colonel Carmichael and honorable share-holders in 
the Marut Diamond Company," he began, "you are no 
doubt wondering why I have called this private meet- 
ing. I do so because you are the chief partakers in the 
concern, and because, as my friends, I wish to offer you 
an explanation which I do not feel bound to offer to 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CATASTROPHE 269 

th« other share-holders within and without Marut. This 
excuse does not hold good for you. Colonel Carmichael, 
and you must feel I am encroaching heavily on your 
valuable time. Nevertheless, I assure you that 
your presence will assist me considerably in my 
diflBcult task." 

"I am sure I shall be delighted to do anything 
in my power," Colonel Carmichael responded, "but 
I fear my knowledge of intricate business details 
is not such as to make it of the slightest use to 
you." 

"The business is not intricate," Travers went on. 
"Nor do I propose drawing out this meeting to any 
tiring length. The heat must be very trying for 
the ladies present, but my wish to keep what passes 
between us, at any rate for the time being, entirely 
secret, makes it essential to sit in closed rooms. I 
will be as brief as possible. Two years ago the 
Marut Diamond Company first came into existence 
under the protection of our friend. Rajah Nehal 
Singh. For some time previous to this event it 
had been my great ambition to open out a diamond 
field in which, thanks to favorable reports, I sin- 
cerely believed. My position, however, and above 
all my lack of personal means, made the scheme 
an impossibility so far as I was concerned. Chance 
brought me the pleasure and misfortune of making 
your acquaintance. Rajah. I say 'misfortune,' be- 
cause, as events have turned, I can not but feel that my 
casual observations led you to enter into an enter- 
prise before which another man, if I may say so, 
with more experience and less impulse, would have 
hesitated. 

DiqilizDdbyGoOgle 



270 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Your generosity and enthusiasm brought my half- 
conceived plans into a reality almost before I had any 
clear idea as to whither we were all drifting. You will 
remember, Mrs. Cary, I did my best to dissuade you 
from any rash investment ; and even there, as director 
of the company, I felt that I was not acting with entire 
loyalty to the man who had put me into that position. 
The responsibility of the whole matter rested heavily 
GO my shoulders, and grew still heavier as the circle 
of share-holders without Marut increased. I felt 
that, should my first hopes prove unfounded, my 
friends and many others would suffer losses which 
they could ill afford to bear. Ladies and gentle- 
men, it is my painful duty to tell you that the 
dreaded collapse has come. Mr. Medway, here, the 
company's chief engineer and mining expert, in- 
formed me yesterday that any continuation of the 
works was useless and a mere waste of the share- 
holders' money. I therefore beg to announce to 
you that the Marut Diamond Company Mine is 
definitely closed." 

The Colonel clenched his teeth half-way through 
the first oath he had ever allowed himself in the 
presence of ladies. He was not an unusually ego- 
istical man, but his first thought was one of un- 
utterable gratitude that in the moment of strong 
temptation his wife had held an obstinate hand on 
the purse-strings. 

The first person to speak was Mrs. Cary. She 
leaned half-way across the table. 

"And my money?" she said thickly and unstead- 
ily. "Where's my money? Where's my money? 
Tell me that!" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CATASTROPHE 371 

Travers shni^ed his shoulders. 

"I fear it has gone the way of mine and of the 
other share-holders'," he said. "Nor can I hold out 
any hopes of its coming back. The expenses of the 
mine have been terribly heavy, the workmen have 
been extremely well paid — extremely well paid." 
There was a distinct note of reproach in his voice, 
though he looked at no one. 

Mrs. Cary sat down in her seat. It was a pitiful 
and almost terrible sight to see her, all the florid, 
vulgar ostentation and sleek content dashed out 
of her, leaving her with pasty cheeks and horror- 
stricken, staring eyes to face the ruined future. 
Mrs. Berry burst into ever-ready tears. 

"Oh \" she sobbed. "What will my husband say ! 
I told him it was such a good thing — it isn't my 
fault. What will he say!" 

The sharp, wailing tones broke through Mrs. 
Gary's momentary paralysis. She sat up and brought 
her fat clenched fist down with a bang upon the 
table. 

"You I" she half screamed at the Rajah. "You — 
you black swindler — you thief — it's you who have 
done it — you who have ruined us all with your 
wicked schemes. You baited us with this club- 
house — you pretended you wanted to do us such 
a lot of good, didn't you? And all the time you 
meant to feather your own nest with diamonds and 
the Lord knows what. Give us back our money, 
you heathen swindler! For you aren't a Christian! 
You pretended that, too, just as a blind — " 

Her flow of frightful coarse invectives came to 
an abrupt end. Colonel Carmichael, who knew now 



:,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



273 THE NATIVE BORN 

why his presence had been required, leaned forward 
and pushed her firmly down in her seat. 

"For Heaven's sake, Mrs. Cary, hold your 
tongue !" he expostulated, in a rapid, emphatic un- 
dertone. "You don't know what you are saying. 
You are not in England. A little more of that sort 
of thing, and our lives aren't worth an hour's pur- 
chase." 

"I don't care," she retorted, with all the head- 
long brutality of her origin. "It's true what I say I 
It's true 1" 

"It is true." The interruption came from the 
Rajah himself. He had risen and stood before them, 
very pale, but calm and composed, his eyes fixed 
with haggard resolution on the furious face of his 
accuser. "It is true. I am a swindler. I have 
ruined you all. Why should you believe it was 
done unwittingly? Yet that is true also. I, like 
my poor friend here whom I used as my tool, believed 
that I was doing the best for you all. But I have 
ruined you. I have done worse than that — I have 
ruined my country, my people. You have friends 
who will help you in your distress, but who will 
help my people? I pulled them out of their miser- 
able homes only to cast them into deeper misery. 
I have taken their pitiful savings, meaning, without 
the use of charity, to increase them tenfold. I have 
taken everything from them. I gave a hope, and 
have left them with a deeper despair. Not all my 
wealth — and not a stone, not a farthing piece shall 
be held back from your and their just claims upon 
me — will fill up the ruin of those I wished so well. 
It is true — I stand before you all a dishonored man." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CATASTROPHE «73 

There was a moment's petrified silence. Even 
Mrs. Gary's coarse nature stood baffled before 
this pitiless, dignified setf-accusal. Nor could the 
Colonel find a word to say. He had been ready — 
knowing the native character — to defend Mrs. Cary 
from the stroke of a revenging dagger. His half- 
outstretched arm sank powerless before the stroke 
of these few words, spoken with a calm which thinly 
covered a chaos of remorse and broken-hearted 
grief. 

"I have a question I should like to asic yoa, Mr. 
Travers." 

There was a genera! uneasy start. Each shook 
off his brooding considerations and turned with 
surprise to this unexpected speaker. It was Bea- 
trice, hitherto silent and apparently unmoved, who 
leaned across to Travers. He himself felt the blood 
rise to his face. In his absorbed state he had not 
noticed her presence, and now that he met her cold 
eyes a curious discomfort crept over him— a dis- 
comfort that was nearly fear. 

"I will answer your question to the best of my 
ability," he said quietly. 

"The Rajah has spoken of you as his tool, and I 
think from your tone that you think yourself ag- 
grieved. In what way have you suffered? What 
is your share of the losses?" 

"I have lost all I have." 

"All you have, no doubt. But your wife is very 
rich, and I believe has grown richer within the last 
year. I am anxious to know if you intend to fol- 
low the Rajah's generous example and meet your 
liabilities with her fortune/' 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



274 THE NATIVE BORN 

The Colonel, who had been staring vacantly at 
her, gave a start of recollection. 

"Yesl" he exclaimed eneigetically. "The setde- 
ment and Lots' own money — ^what's become of it 
all? Has that gone, too?" 

"-Of course not." Travers' hand tightened in- 
stinctively upon the arm of his chair. "I should 
never have dreamed of touchit^ what was my wife's 
personal property. Nor do I intend to do so now. 
I am no more than the manager of the company — 
I am not responsible for its liabilities. Miss Gary's 
suggestion is beside the mark, and I warn her, for 
her own advantage" — there was a somewhat un- 
pleasant note of warning in his rough voice— "not 
to pursue her questions further." 

Beatrice rose to her feet. She was calm and, 
save for the vivid color in her cheeks, betrayed 
at first little of the seething storm of indignation 
which rose gradually above the barriers of her self- 
control. She did not look at the Rajah. She stared 
straight into Travers' face, and once she pointed at 
him. 

"You have been good enou^ to threaten me," 
she said. "It would be best for you to know at 
once that your threats are quite useless. There is 
nothing you can say about me which 1 am not 
ready to say myself — and there is nothing you can 
do which will prevent me from revealing the true 
facts of this case. You have feathered your nest, 
Mr. Travers. That is what you told me to do, and 
now I understand what you meant. You saw this 
ruin coming at the very time that you were en- 
couraging every one to partake further of the com- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



by Google 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CATASTROPHE 275 

pany's future success. You honored me, as a sort 
of accomplice, with a private piece of advice. Thank 
God, I did not take it, for then I should have been your 
debtor, 

"As it is, I owe you absolutely nothing — not even 
the wealthy husband you promised me. There is a 
bottom to my depths. And even if I did owe you . 
something, I should not hesitate to speak. You can 
call me a traitor if you like — I don't care. I am that — 
and I have been far worse than that to a man who did 
not deserve it — and I have, anyhow, not much reputa- 
tion to lose. Besides, you have stood by withotrt a 
word and let an innocent man bear your burden, and 
for that atone you have no right to daim. loyalty from 
another." 

She turned for the first time to Nehal Sin^, and met 
his gaze boldly and recklessly. "Do not stand there and 
call yourself a dishonored mant" she exclaimed with 
increasing force, "You are not dishonored. Do not 
call Mr. Travers your 'tool,' He is not your tool, 
and never has been. You are his tool, — his and 
mine Y' She paused, catching her breath as she saw 
him wince. Then she went on : "Don't burden 
yourself with the consciences of us all, for we have 
not got any ; and what has been done we have done 
knowingly and wilfully. Do you remember that eve- 
ning when you found me in the temple ? You thought 
it was— chance— or — or the hand of God. Why, Mr. 
Travers hired one of your old servants to slip me 
through by the secret path, and I had on my prettiest 
frock and my prettiest smile and my prettiest ways — as 
I told them all afterward at a dinner-party — pious 
goodness, with a relieving touch of the devil — just to 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



376 THE NATIVE BORN 

tempt you out of your cloister and make you do what 
we wanted. 

"You followed like a Iamb. It took five minutes to 
wheedle the club-house out of you — five minutes, 
I think you told me, Mr. Travers? — and the other 
things went just as smoothly. Do you remember 
that ride we had together after Mr. Travers' dance? 
He had broached the subject of the mine, but the 
next day something or other seemed to have shaken 
your implicit belief in our integrity and general 
holiness. At any rate, you asked me for my ad- 
vice — my honest advice. I gave it you. I told you 
to go ahead — that Mr. Travers was an angel of 
goodness and perfection. That was what he sug- 
gested I should say, in a note he had sent me an 
hour before. So you went ahead. You did the 
dirty work for him, and took his responsibility upon 
your shoulders. You have ruined a few of us inci- 
dentally, but above all things you have ruined your- 
self and your people. Mr. Travers is unharmed. 
He has his wife's money," 

She paused to gather her strength for a final effort. 
"So much for Mr. Travers' and my partnership. I 
did my share of the work to shield myself and my 
mother from a trouble which must now go its way. 
But after that, I played my own game. I did not 
want to lose you — even though I knew quite well 
that you cared for me, and that I should never 
marry you. Months before I had made up my mind 
to marry a man with a high position and money. 
It was just a game I was playing with you. Even 
when you forced things to a head, I kept it up. I 
pretended innocency and high motives — because I 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CATASTROPHE x^j 

wanted to feel you at my apron-strings always. We 
all treated you more or less badly, but I was the 
worst. I fooled you — for — for — " 

"For what?" 

His voice burst from him, harsh and terrible as 
though it had been torn from the bottom of a tortured 
soul. 

"For the fun of the thing." 

Among the seven present there was no move- 
ment, no sound. Scarcely one seemed to breathe 
or be alive except the woman who stood there, her 
breast heaving, a twisted smile of wild self-mock- 
ery on her ashy lips. 

Nehal Singh turned and went to the door. There 
he stopped and looked back at her and the little 
group of which she formed the central figure. Then 
he made a gesture — one single gesture. He raised 
his hand high above his head and brought it down, 
palm downward. In that movement there was a 
contempt, a scorn, a bitterness so profound that 
it seemed to mingle with a terrible pity ; but above 
all there was a final severing, a breaking of the 
last Hnk which bound them. The next minute the 
door closed behind him. 

How long the silence that followed lasted no one 
knew. It was broken by Mrs. Cary, who flung 
herself face downward on the table, and burst into 
wild, uncontrollable sobs. 

"Oh, Beaty !" she moaned. "Our reputations— 
our good name! How could you have told such 
wicked stories about yourself and poor Mr. Travers 1 
How could you I" 

Colonel Carmichael shook his head. He was 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



278 THE NATIVE BORN 

overwhelmed by a cross-current of conflicting emo- 
tions to which he could give no name. 

"True or not true, your— eh — statement has got 
us into a pretty mess. Miss Cary," he said. "You 
have played with fire. Pray Heaven that it has 
not set light to Marutl" 

She turned and looked at him. In that pale face 
upon which had sunk the tight of a sudden peace 
the Colonel read something which sent his blunt 
instinct searching wildly for a solution. 

"I did what I had to do. Colonel Carmichael," 
she said. "Come, mother, we must go home." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER III 
A FAREWELL 

JOHN STAFFORD sat at his table by the open door 
which looked on to the garden. The room behind 
him was bare of all graceful or even tasteful orna- 
ment—a few native weapons, captured probably 
during small frontier wars, hung on the wall, but 
nothing else relieved its blank, whitewashed monot- 
ony. The one photograph of his father which had 
once been fastened above the mantelpiece had been 
taken down months before and the hole made by 
the nail carefully and methodically filled and painted 
over. The room typified the man in its painful 
order, its painful whitewashed cleanliness, its rigid 
plainness. But the garden was the symbol of the 
hidden possibility in him, the corner of warm, im- 
pulsive feeling which the world had never seen. 
The roses grew up to the very steps of the veran- 
dah; they had been trained to clamber over the 
trellis-work as though seeking to gain entrance to 
his room; they spread themselves in rich, glowing 
variety over the little patch of ground, and one of 
their number, the most lovely and fullest blown, 
hung her heavy head in splendid isolation from the 
vase upon his table. 

He looked at the rose aad he looked at the gar- 
dea, on which lay the Brst clear rays of the rising 
279 

C,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



28o THE NATIVE BORN 

sun. In him stirred a rare wistfulness, a rare mel- 
ancholy. For to him all the gentler, softer forms 
of sorrow were rare. In the last year he had suf- 
fered, but in his own way — rigidly, coldly, unbend- 
ingly. His lips, even in the loneliness of his own 
room, had always been tight closed over the smoth- 
ered exclamation of pain. He had gone on steadily 
and conscientiously with his work. He had never 
for one moment "^ven way to himself," as he ex- 
pressed it. But this morning he was in the power 
of that strange "atmosphere"— call it what you will 
—which we feel when still only half awake, and which, 
independent of all outward circumstances, destines 
our day's mood of cheerfulness or depression. 
Strangely enough, he had made no struggle against 
it — he had yielded to it with a sense of inevitable- 
ness. 

The inevitable compassed him about and numbed 
his stem, merdless system of self-repression. Fate, ir- 
resistible and unchangeable, obscured the clear path of 
duty which he had marked out for himself, and held 
him for the moment her passive victim. It was no idle 
fancy. He was not a man in whose thought-world fan- 
cy played any part Nor was it the gloomy impression 
which a lonely twilight might have stamped upon a 
mind already burdened with a heavy weight of trouble. 
The young day spread her halo of pure sunshine over 
a world of color ; the red rose upon his table bowed her 
head toward him in the perfection of a mature beauty 
which as yet hid no warning of decay. But in the 
sunshine he saw the shadow ; the daylight foretold 
the night; his eyes saw the withered petals of the 
rose strewn before htm. In vain he had striven to 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



A FAREWELL aSi 

see beyond the night to the as ineviuble to-mor- 
row; in vain he had pictured the rose which his 
careful hand would bring to replace her dead sister. 
The future was a blank dead wall whose heights 
his foresight could not scale. 

Before htm on the table lay a closed and sealed 
envelope. It contained his will, which half an hour 
before he had signed in the presence of two com- 
rades. He wondered what the world would say 
when it was opened — and when it would be opened. 

Presently the curtains behind him were pushed 
quietly on one side. He did not turn around. He 
supposed it was his native servant with the cup of 
coffee which formed his early morning refreshment ; 
but the soft step across the uncarpeted floor, the 
rustle of a woman's dress startled him from bis il- 
lusion. He turned and sprang to bis feet. 

"Beatrice!" he exclaimed. 

She came toward him with outstretched hand. 

"May I speak with you for a few minutes, John?" 
she asked. 

His 6rst impulse to protest against her reckless 
disregard of propriety died away on his lips. Some- 
thing on her white earnest face touched him — all 
the more perhaps because it linked itself with his own 
mood. He brought a chair — his own, for the room 
boasted of but one. 

"Are you angry?" she asked again, looking up at 
him. 

"At your coming? No, At another time I mig^t 
have warned you that it was not wise, but I feel 
sure you would not have run so much risk without 
a serious and adequate reason." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



282 THE NATIVE BORN 

She nodded. 

"Yes, I have a very serious reason," she said. 
"Have you time to spare?" 

"All the morning," 

"Were you on duty last night?" 

"For the best part." 

"Is that why you look so tired and ill?" 

He smiled faintly. 

"I might reply with a lu guoquf. But that doesn't 
matter. You have some trouble to tell me. What 
has happened?" 
- "You have heard nothing?" 

"Nothing whatever." He drew a stool toward him 
and seated himself at her side. "You know, I am not 
a person to whom gossip drifts quickly." 

"It's not gossip — it's truth. The Marut Diamond 
Company is closed — for good and all." 

"You mean — it has gone smash?" 

"Completely — and we with it." 

He sat silent for a moment, his head resting thought- 
fully on his hand. 

"I suppose it had to come," he said at last. "Some- 
how, it always seemed to me that the concern was 
doomed. The foundations weren't honest. The 
Rajah was more or less beguiled into it — " He 
broke off, turning crimson with vexation. "I beg 
your pardon, Beatrice. I forgot that that was one 
of your— escapades." 

She looked at him steadily, and he was struck 
and again strangely moved by her pale beauty. He 
had never seen her so gentle, so free from her cold 
and mocking gaiety. 

"You must not apologize. And do not smooth over 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



A FAREWELL 283 

a mean, low trick with the name of an escapade. It 
was not an escapade, for an escapade is the overflow 
of hi^ and reckless spirits, and what I did was done 
in cold blood and with a purpose. I have come to tell 
you about that purpose." 

He could not repress a movement of surprise. 

"Surely you have something more serious on 
your mind than that? If, as you say, your — ^yout 
financial position has been rendered precarious by 
this failure of the Marut Company, would it not 
be advisable to hurry on our marriage at once? Of 
course, in the meanwhile, if I can do anything to 
help your mother — " 

She touched him gently on the arm. 

"I told you I had come on a serious matter," she 
said. "Won't you let me tell you what it is?" 

"Of course, Beatrice, of course. Only I thought 
that was the serious matter." 

"It is perhaps for my mother, but not for me. 
Things have changed their value in my life. Just 
now I feel there is only one thing that has any 
value at all, and that is freedom." 

"From what? I do not understand. Do you 
mean from debt?" 

She smiled sadly. 

"Yes, from debt. John, I want to ask you an hon- 
est question honestly. Why did you ask me to be- 
come your wife?" 

He moved uneasily. 

"Why do you ask? Surely we understand eacli 
other." 

"We did, perhaps, but I have told you that things 
have changed. Won't you answer me?" 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



284 THE NATIVE BORN 

"I asked you — because I wished you to be my 
wife," he returned stubbornly. 

"John, isn't that rather a lame equivocation?" 

He stared at her with heavy, troubled eyes. 

"Yes, it was. But the truth might hurt you, 
Beatrice." 

"No, it wouldn't. Nothing can hurt so much in 
the end as lies and humbug." 

"Well, then, I asked you to become my wife be- 
cause I believed that my conduct had put you into 
a wrong and painful situation in the eyes of the 
world," 

"Nothing else?" 

"I wished to prove to Lois that I could never be 
her husband." 

"You were afraid that she would see through 
your pretense to your unchanged affection for her?" 

He started. 

"Beatrice, how do you know?" 

"Look in your own glass, John. Yours isn't the 
face of a man who has shaken off an old attachment" 

He rose and stood with his back half turned to 
her, playing idly with the papers on the table. 

"You are partly right," he said, after a moment's 
silence, "but not quite. I have more on my shoulders 
than that; I have a heavy responsibility — a debt 
to pay." 

"You, too?" she asked, with a return of the half- 
melancholy, half-bitter smile. "Have you also a 
debt?" 

"Not of my making," was the answer. The voice 
rang suddenly stern and harsh, and Beatrice saw 
him look up suddenly, as though instinctively seek- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



A FAREWELL 285 

ing something on the wall. "Beatrice, you must 
know that my actions are dictated by motives which 
I can not for many reasons give to the world. For one 
thing, I have given my promise ; for another, my own 
judgment tells me that it is better for every one that I 
should be silent. But I am free to say this much to you 
— I am not a dishonorable man who has played lightly 
with the affections of an innocent girl. I have acted 
toward Lois as I believe will be for her ultimate happi- 
ness — I have shielded her from a misfortune, a punish- 
ment I might say, which would have fallen unjustly on 
her shoulders. I have taken a burden upon my 
shoulders because I love her — and I have the right 
to love her — but chiefly because it is my duty to 
do so. Where there is sin, Beatrice, there must also be 
atonement, otherwise its consequences can never 
be wiped out. I have chosen to atone." 

Beatrice made no attempt to question him. Her 
eyes fell thoughtfully on the gaunt face, and for 
the tirst time she appreciated to the full what was 
great and generous in the nature she had con- 
demned all too often as narrow and unbending. 
Whatever else he was, this man was no Pharisee. 
If he was narrow, he allowed himself no license; 
if unbending, he was at least least of all relenting 
toward his own conduct. She pitied him and she 
respected him, even though she could not under- 
stand his motives nor guess the weight of the re- 
sponsibility which he had taken upon himself. 

"I can not reproach you with deception," she said 
at last. "You never pretended that you loved me, 
and on my side I think the matter was pretty clear. 
I intended to marry you for your position. After- 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



386 THE NATIVE BORN 

ward money added a further incentive. I saw tfie loss 
of our own fortune coming. Travers warned me on 
the same day tliat we became engaged." 

A dark flood of indignant blood rushed to Staf- 
ford's forehead. 

"The man is an unscrupulous adventurer — no 
doubt he has safeguarded his own interest carefully 
enough," he exclaimed bitterly. 

"You are quite right. His wife has all the money, 
and be has taken care that it should be well tied 
up and out of reach. That is what my father did." 

He turned to her again. 

"Your father?" 

"Yes, my father," she repeated, meeting his eyes 
gravely and unflinchingly. "He tried to do what 
Travers did. But he wasn't quite so clever. He 
ran too close to the wind, as he said himself, and 
they put him in prison. He died there." 

He stood looking at her with a new interest He 
too, was beginning to understand. The bitter line 
about the mouth was not the expression of a hard, 
unfeeling heart after all, then, and the sharp, mock- 
ing laugh which had jarred so often on his ears was 
not the echo of a shallow, worthless character? 
They were no more than the deep wounds left after 
a rough battle with a world that knows no pity 
for those branded with inherited shame and dis- 
honor. He had misjudged her. There were unlimited 
possibilities of nobility and goodness in the beautiful 
face lifted to his. But he said nothing of the thoughts 
that flashed through his mind. In moments of crisis 
we always speak of what is least important. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



A FAREWELL 287 

"And you managed to keep it a secret in Manit?" 
he asked. 

"Yes, it was a marvel, wasn't it?" — her eyes 
brightening with a spark of the old fun. "We lived 
in a constant state of alarms and excursions. But 
Mr. Travers did what he could. He knew all about 
it, and he helped us." 

"On conditions, no doubt?" 

"Of course, on conditions. But he said, quite ' 
truthfully, that he had no idea of blackmailing me. 
It was just a fair bargain between us." She paused 
a little before she went on : "Now, you understand 
what brought us to Marut, and what made you 
such a desirable catch. We wanted to get clear 
away from the past and build up a new life. But 
we couldn't. One can't build up anything on a lie." 

"That is true," he returned sternly, "and yet this 
is hardly a time for you to talk of your failure. 
From the moment that you are ray wife — " 

"But, John, that's what I never shall be." She 
laughed wearily. "Do you think a clever woman 
would own up to an unpleasant past to the man 
she wanted to marry? And if you want to hear 
more detestable things about me, ask the Colonel, 
ask Mrs. Berry, ask the Rajah. They know all 
about me, (or I told them yesterday. You don't 
need to look so white and haggard. I ara not going 
to marry you. That is what I came to say. And 
I wanted to explain everything, and to ask you, if 
you can, to forgive me all the trouble I have 
brought upon you." She rose, and held out her 
hand to him. "Will you shake hands, John?" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



288 THE NATIVE BORN 

He stood motionless by the table, watching her 
with a last stirring of the old distrust. 

"I do not understand you," he said bluntly, and 
in truth he did not. This pale-faced woman with 
the earnest eyes deep underlined with the marks 
of sleepless nights was a riddle which his stiff, con- 
ventional imagination could not solve. 

"Is it necessary that you should understand?" 
she answered. "I have not asked you to explain 
why, still loving her, you threw Lois over. I be- 
lieve that you had some grave reason. It could not 
be graver than mine for doing what I am doing." 

"Then you mean that — it is entirely over between 
us?" 

"Yes, it is over between us. Your sense of jus- 
tice will not have to undergo the ordeal of forcing 
your sense of honor to link itself with dishonor. 
To your credit, I believe you would have married 
me, John, and I am grateful. But there's an end 
of it. I have come to say good-by. I suppose it is ab- 
surd, but I wish we could remain friends." 

This time he took her hand in his. Now that 
the artificial union between them was done away 
with, their real friendship for each other came back 
and took its rightful place in their lives. 

"Why shouldn't we, Beatrice?" he said. "Heaven 
knows, we both have need of friends." 

"It is a strange thing," she continued thought- 
fully, "that, though you are so completely my op- 
posite, I have always liked you. Even when you 
most jarred upon me with your prunes-and-prisms 
morality, I was never able quite to close my heart. I 
wonder why?" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



A FAREWELL 389 

He could not repress a faint amusement at the 
flash of her old self. 

"It has been the same with me," he said. "Even 
when you trod on all my principles at once, I haven't 
been able to smother a Sort of shamefaced respect 
for you. You always seemed more worthy of re- 
spect than — well, some of the others." 

"I suppose it is our sincerity," she said. "You 
are sincere in your goodness, and I, paradoxical as 
it sounds, in my badness." 

"I think not," he answered, looking her gravely 
in the face. "I think it is because the hidden best in 
both of us recognized each other and held out the hand 
of friendship almost without our knowing." 

She smiled, but he saw a light sparkle in her 
eyes- 

"Oh, practical John, you are making fast process 
in the soul's world I Who has taught you?" 

He turned away from her back to the table and 
stood there gazing out over the garden. 

"Mo one. It is a mood I have on to-day which 
makes me see clearer than I have done before. Go 
now — if any one saw you here, you know what 
Marut would say." 

"Yes, I know Marut very well by now. Not that 
it much matters. Good-by. Please — I found my way 
alone ; I can find the way out." 

She had reached the door before he stopped her. 

"Beatrice I" 

She turned. 

"What is itl^' 

"I have a favor to ask of you— or rather, I have 
a trust to put in your hands. It is in a sort of way 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



290 THE NATIVE BORN 

th« seal upon our good understanding. There is 
no one else whom I could trust so much." 

She came back to his side. A new color was in her 
cheeks. Her eyes looked less tired, less hopeless. 

"A trust? That would make life worth living," 

He took up the packet on the table and gave it to her. 

"That is my will. I made it afresh last night. It 
was witnessed this morning. In it I have made you 
my executrix, with half my estate. The other half I 
have left to Lois," 

"Now you must leave it all to her," she said. 

"No, I wish it to remain as it is. Besides — " He 
broke off hurriedly, as though seeking to avoid an 
unpleasant train of thought "Beatrice, the world 
won't understand that will. Lois won't, and I pray, 
for the sake of her happiness, that she may never 
have to — ^but if the time comes when this must 
be put into action, I want you to give her a mes- 
sage from me. Will you?" 

"Of course I will. But" — she faced him with a 
sudden inspired appeal — "must you wait until you 
are dead to speak to her? Would it not be better 
to go to her now with your message? I do not know 
what has come between you both, but I know this 
much — all forms of pretense are fatal — " 

He stopped her with a gesture of decision. 

"No," he said. "The secret must remain secret. 
It has overshadowed my life. It has laden me with 
a burden of responsibility and shame which I have 
determined to share with no one. I have taken it 
upon my shoulders, and I shall carry it to the end. 
Tell Lois that I have never once swerved in my 
love for her. Ask her to trust me and think kindly 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



A FAREWELL 391 

of me. It is not I who have sinned against her — " 

"Sinned against her 1 Who has sinned against 
her ? Do you mean me ?" 

"No, not you. You also have been sinned against. 
I also." He sighed wearily. "When I look about 
tne, it seems as though not one of us has not in turn 
sinned and been sinned against. It is an endless 
chain of the wrong we do one another." 

She laughed, and for the first time there rang in 
her voice a note of the old harshness. 

"Look at me, John. There is no turn and turn 
about with me. From the beginning I have tricked 
and lied and fought my way through life. I didn't 
care whom I hurt so long as I got through. I sinned. 
Who has sinned against me ?' 

"One person at least," he answered significantly. 

She caught her breath, and the hand that passed 
hastily across her forehead trembled. 

"Even if it were true what you say," she said, half 
inaudibly, "it does not alter the fact that we must 
atone for what has been done." 

"It is the justice of the world," he assented. "We 
must make good the harm we do and the harm that 
has been done us." He threw back his shoulders with 
a movement of energetic protest. "Do not let us waste 
time talking. We can not help each other. All I ask 
is — do not forget my message." 

She looked at him, strangely moved. 

"You talk as though you were going to die to-night," 
she said. 

"I talk as a man does whom death has already 
tapped on the shoulder more than once of late," he an- 
swered, with grim humor. "Good-by, Beatrice." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



392 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Good-by." 

He pushed his writing-tabte to one side so that she 
could pass out on to the verandah. 

"Do not come with me farther," she said. "The car- 
riage is waiting outside. I would rather go alone." 

He stood and watched her as she passed lightly and 
quickly among the rose-bushes. It was as though he 
were trying to engrave upon his mind the memory of a 
lovely picture that he was never to see again, — as 
though he were bidding her a final farewell. Twice 
she turned and glanced back at him. Was it with 
the same intent, guided by the same strange fore- 
boding? She disappeared, and the voice of a native 
orderly who had entered the room unheard recalled 
him to the reality. 

"A letter for you, Captain Sahib," the man said, 
saluting. 

Stafford took the sealed envelope and, tearing it 
open, ran hastily over the contents. It was from the 
Colonel. The subscription, as usual since the rupture 
in their relations, was cold and formal. 

"I should be glad to see you at once," Colonel Car- 
michael had written. "Events occurred yesterday 
which I have not as yet been able to discuss with you, 
but which I fear are likely to have the most serious 
consequences. In the present weakened condition of 
our garrison, we can afford to run no risks. Nicholson 
is with me here. Your presence would simplify mat- 
ters as regards forming our plans for the future." 

Stafford turned to the waiting soldier. 

"Present my compliments to the Colonel Sahib," he 
said. "I shall be with him immediately. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER IV 

STAFFORD INTERVENES 

THE threatening cloud which had loomed up on 
the horizon had acted wonders on Colcmel Carmichael's 
constitution. At the last meeting of the Marut Dia- 
mond Company he had looked like a man whose days 
on the active service list were numbered. Ill-health, 
disappointment, and a natural pessimism had appar- 
ently left an indelible trace upon him, and Mrs. Car- 
michael's prophetic eye saw them both established in 
Cheltenham or Bath, relegated to the Empire's lumber- 
room — unless something happened. The something 
had happened. The one sound which had the power 
to rouse him had broken like a dap of unheralded 
thunder upon his ears. It was the call of danger, the 
war-note which had brought back to him the spring- 
time of his youth and strength. 

Stafford found him restlessly pacing backward and 
forward in his narrow workroom, deep in conversa- 
tion with Nicholson, who stood at the table, his head 
bent over a map of Marut. Both men were in uniform, 
and it seemed to Stafford that Colonel Carmichael lis- 
tened to the click of his own spurs with the pleasure 
of 3 young lieutenant. It was no longer the sound of 
weary routine. It was the herald of clashing sabres 
and the champing of impatient horses awaiting the 
charge; it was an echo of past warlike days which 
393 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



394 THE NATIVE BORN 

were to come again. He stood still as Stafford en- 
tered, and a flash of satisfaction passed over his faa. 

"I'm glad you have come," he said. "Whatever is 
to be done must be done at once. I suppose you know 
nothing?" 

"Nothing," Stafford answered. "Your note was the 
first intimation I have received that there was anythii^ 
amiss." 

Colonel Cannichael gnmted angrily. 

"Of course you know nothing," he said, resuming 
his restless march about the room. "Nor did I — nor 
did any one. Heaven and earth, I'm beginning to 
think there's something wrong in our theory that what- 
ever is going on under our noses must be too insig- 
nificant to be noticed! There, Nicholson, hurry up 
and tell him what you know." 

Nicholson stood upright, and folding the map put 
it in his pocket 

"I was in the New Bazaar last ni^t," he b^^ 
curtly. "I go there regularly, as you know, disguised 
at one thing or another, just for the sake of having 
a look at the people when they don't know they are 
being watched. Last night there was no one there — 
not so much as a child or a woman. The place was 
dead. I admit that I was not particularly startled. I 
knew that there was a great festival at hand. Pil- 
grims have been streaming in for days past, and it 
was quite conceivable that some ceremony was taking 
place in the temple. Curiosi^ fortunately led me to 
investigate further. Myself disguised as a travelii^ 
fakir, I made my way to the Rajah's palace gates. 
Already on the road I was joined by a hurrying stream 
of men and women, principally men. My suspicions 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



STAFFORD INTERVENES 195 

were aroused. I knew from experience that it was not 
a usual crowd of pilgrims. Every man was armed, 
not only with knives, but guns and revolvers. Some 
of them were undoubtedly deserted sepoys who had 
stolen their weapons. Moreover, they exchanged a 
signal which I recognized and, in order to escape de- 
tection, imitated. It was the signal which in past 
generations revealed one member of the Thug frater- 
nity to another." 

"Thugs \" exclaimed Stafford, with a faintly skep- 
tical smile. 

"Do not misunderstand me," Nicholson said. "I am 
not going to recall to your minds the nursery horrors 
with which our ayahs regaled our childish imagin- 
ations. I will only emphasize one fact. The Thug^ 
were not and are not merely a band of murderous and 
treacherous robbers. They belong to the priesthood, 
they are the deputed servants of the goddess Kali, and 
their task is the extermination of the enemy — of the 
foreigner, that is to say — in this case, of ourselves." 

Stafford glanced at the Colonel. The latter's face 
was set and grave. 

"I do not for a moment suggest that the crowd with 
which I traveled were Thugs," Nicholson continued. 
"I know that they were not But they had adopted 
the Thug sign because they had adopted the Thug 
mission. Not, however, till we had passed the gates 
and reached the palace did I realize the gravity of the 
situation. The Rajah stood on the great steps, sur- 
rounded by a body-guard of torch-bearers. He was 
dressed in full native costume, a blaze of gems, and 
wearing the royal insignia. The expression on his face 
was something: I shall not easily forget, and at the 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



296 THE NATIVE BORN 

time it was inexplicable to mc. I can not describe it. 
I can only say that I was instantly reminded of Mil- 
ton's fallen Satan as he stands above bis followers, 
superb, dauntless, but tortured by hatred, contempt 
and God knows what strai^e minglings of remorse 
and anger. He greeted the crowd with the sign of 
death. His first words revealed to me that his alle- 
giance to us was at an end, and that he meant to fol- 
low in his father's bloody footsteps." 

Stafford stretched out his hand, catching hold of 
the back of a chair as if seeking support. 

"Go on !" he said sharply. 

"I have very little more to say. I did not w^t, for 
I had heard enough to know that Marut was in instant 
danger. I made my escape as best I could, but in order 
to avoid notice I had to resort to circuitous paths, and 
only reached here this morning." 

Colonel Carmichael brought bis hand down an- 
grily upon the table. 

"To think that the scoundrel should have been pre- 
tending friendship all the time that he was preparing 
to murder us I" he exclaimed. "This comes of trust- 
ing a native 1" 

"Excuse me. Colonel," Nicholson answered, with 
emphasis. "I have every reason to believe that until 
yesterday Nehal Singh was our sincere ally." 

"You mean to say that he stamped an armed crowd 
out of the earth in half an hour?" 

"No. That armed crowd was the silent work of 
years. It was the tool which has been held ready for 
a long time — ^but not by Nehal Singh — " 
■ "By whom, then, in the name of all—" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



STAFFORD INTERVENES 297 

Nicholson drew out an old and faded pbotograpb 
and handed it to the Colonel. 

"Do you recognize that face?" he asked. 

"Certainly I do. It is the Rajah's father — ^Behar 
Singh. How did you come by this?" 

"It belonged to my father. He gave it me, and I 
kept it as a curiosity. Colonel, I saw that man last 
night at the Rajah's side." 

The photograph fluttered from the Colonel's power- 
less fingers. He looked at Nicholson, and there flashed 
into his old eyes a terrible primitive passion of re- 
venge and hatred 

"My Godt He is alive — and I never knew I" 

"He is alive. Colonel. And I believe that, hidden 
from us all, he has been working steadily and stealth- 
ily at the task which saw its completion last night. 
So long as Nehal Singh stood on our side he could 
do nothing. The people believe Nehal to be an in- 
carnation of Vishnu, and they will only follow where 
he leads. Behar knew that — probably he himself had 
fostered the idea. He guessed, probably, that one day 
Nehal Singh would turn from us. He waited. Last 
night I saw a face of devilish triimiph which told its 
otm tale. He had not waited in vain." 

Colonel Carmichad turned to Stafford and held 
out his hand. For the first time old friendship shone 
out of his eyes mingled with a fire of thirsty revenge. 

"You and I have a debt to pay before we die, Staf- 
ford," he said. 

Stafford's hand touched his coldly and powerlessly. 

"I have nothing against the Rajah," he said hoarse- 
ly. "I eta not carry out a revenge against the son — " 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



298 THE NATIVE BORN 

Colonel Carmichael interrupted him with a hard 
laugh. 

"They are all of a piece," he said. "Say what you 
will, Nicholson, Nehal Singh is a traitor. We were 
fools to trust him. We are always fools when we do 
not treat a native as a dai^erous animal. They mur- 
der us for our silly, sentimental confidence." 

Nicholson bent down and, picking up the photo- 
graph, replaced it in his pocket. 

"Do you think so, Colonel?" he said significantly. 
"From my experience I have learned that you can al- 
ways trust a native. You can treat him as your friend 
and equal so long as the inequality is there and obvious 
to him. I mean, so long as in everything — in generos- 
ity, in courage, and in honor — he realizes that you are 
his superior." 

Colonel Carmichael's face darkened with anger. 

"Do you mean, perhaps, that — that we are not all 
that?" he demanded. 

"Surely not alt of us. How many men think that 
any sort of conduct is good enough to show a native ? 
What did Behar Singh see of our honor? He was 
our friend until an Englishman who had eaten and 
drunk his hospitality repaid him by a dishonorable 
theft. What has Nehal Singh seen of our superiority? 
In spite of his father's influence, he came to us preju- 
diced in our favor. He saw heroes in us all, and he 
trusted himself blindly in our hands. What has been 
the consequence? Look at yesterday's scene, as you 
have described it to me. Colonel. His best friend had 
proved himself a mean and treacherous swindler. The 
woman whom as I judge he regarded as a saint — for- 
give me, Stafford, I must be honest — no more than a 



3,q,l,ZDdbyG00gIe 



■ STAFFORD INTERVENES 399 

heartless flirt, who had led him on from one folly to an- 
other for the sake of a little excitement — " 

"Rubbish!" Gilonel Carmichael burst out. "What 
are exceptions in a whole race ?" 

"In a strange country no one is an exception. Col- 
onel. One coward, one thief, one drunkard is quite 
enough to cast the blackest slur upon the whole nation 
in the eyes of another race. As sincerely as he be- 
lieved yesterday that we were all heroes, as sincerely 
Nehal Singh believes to-day that there isn't an honest 
man among us," 

This time Colonel Carmichael made no answer. He 
went over to the window and stood there frowning 
obstinately out over the neglected garden. His eyes 
fell on the ruined bungalow, and he called Nicholson 
to his side. 

"Look at that!" he said. "In that place Behar 
Singh murdered my best and only friend, Steven Ca- 
ruthers. I have not forgotten and I can not forget It 
has branded every native for me as a murderer. No 
doubt this proves your argument From the first I 
shrank from all contact with the present Rajah. I dis- 
trusted him, and it is obvious now that my distrust 
was well founded. What do you say, Stafford ? You, 
too, were against having anything to do with him." 

To his surprise and annoyance, Stafford did not 
respond. He stood there with his hands clasping the 
back of the chair, his brows knitted in painful thought. 

"Come, Stafford, what have you to say?" the Col- 
onel repeated impatiently. 

"I think there is a good deal in what Nicholson 
says," Stafford answered, speaking as though he had 
only just heard that he was being addressed. "The 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



300 THE NATIVE BORN 

Rajah has not been well treated. He has a right to 
feel bitter. And he seemed a fine sort of man. With- 
out prejudice, Colonel, one can not withhold a certain 
admiration for him. He has behaved better than 
some of us." 

Colonel Carmichael frowned, but his sense of jus- 
tice forced him to a reluctant admission. 

"Yes, he has a few showy virtues. Yesterday, for 
instance. Under the circumstances, he behaved like 
a gentleman and a man of honor. Before nightfall the 
English share-holders in the mine got their money 
back in gems and rupees — he must have pulled the 
palace to pieces. In fact, everything might have gone 
off smoothly if it hadn't been for that— -that — " He 
coughed and glanced at Stafford, not without a touch 
of malicious satisfaction. 

"You are alluding to Miss Cary, Colonel," Stafford 
said, returning his glance with dignity, "and you are 
at liberty to say what you like, for I have no longer 
the right to champion her. At her request, our en- 
gagement is at an end. But as her friend I can not re- 
frain from saying this much — she has not spared her- 
self, and, God knows, she also has not been treated 
well." 

What memories passed before the Colonel's mind 
as he stood there gazing absently in front of him! 
Recollections of mean and envious criticisms, ugly 
underhand slanders, petty intrigue, his own shame- 
faced patronage! And then the vision of a lovely, 
white-faced woman making her desperate self-accusal, 
and of a terrible, vulgar mother trying to hold her 
back with threats and pleadings I He turned at last to 
the two men, his own face red and troubled. 



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STAFFORD INTERVENES 301 

"I apologize," he said. "I apologize all around. I 
seem to have been insulting everybody in turn. I dare 
say you are all right. The Rajah may be ill-used and 
Miss Cary welt-meaning. I don't know. And what 
on earth does it matter? The fat is in the fire, and 
here we stand chattering like old women about how 
it got there. Something must be done. The reg- 
iment is a day's march from here, and with a com- 
pany of your Gurkhas, Nicholson, we shan't do much 
— scarcely hold out if they dare attack us." 

"They will dare," Nicholson answered. "So much I 
know for certain, and it will probably be to-nt^t. I 
can vouch for my men, and we must do our best until 
help comes. But — " He paused rather significantly. 

"But what, man? Don't you think it will come in 
time? I have already telegraphed. They will be here 
in twenty-four hours. Surely we can manage BO 
long." 

"Colonel, if you had seen what I saw last night, 
you would not count much on help. It isn't the rising 
of a few unarmed men. It is the revolt of a fanatic, 
warlike nation led by a man. They call him God. His 
godhead does not matter to us. As a god we have 
no need to fear him ; but as a man and a bom leader 
of men, with hatred and revenge as an incentive, 
armed with unlimited power, he is an enemy not to 
be held at bay by a handful of Gurkhas and not to be 
conquered by a regiment." 

His words had their quiet, fatal significance. Col- 
onel Carmichael and Stafford looked at each other. 
Hitherto they had faced the situation coolly enough, 
with their eternal national optimism and self-confi- 
dence. This man had wrenched down the veil, and 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



303 THE NATIVE BORN 

they stood before a chasm to which there seemed no 
shore, no bottom. It was the end, and they knew it. 

"You mean, then, that it is all over?" the Colonel 
said casually. "You know more than either of us. 
You ought to be able to tell," 

"Yes, Colonel, I should judge that it was all over, 
unless a miracle happens." 

"We might fight our way through." 

"On my way early this morning the roads were 
already guarded. They did not recognize me, other- 
wise I should not be here." 

"And the women?" 

All three men had grown cool and indiflferent. 
Death had stepped in, and from that moment it was 
not seemly to show either trouble or excitement 

"According to my idea, the women had better be 
lodged here in your bungalow," Nicholson said. "The 
surrounding walls make it a good place of defense. The 
barracks are too open." 

The Colonel nodded. Quite unconsciously he was 
letting the reins of command slip into the younger 
and stronger hands. 

"They must be brought over at oact," he assented. 
"Thank Heaven most of them have gone to the hills, 
Mrs. Berry and that — that other woman had better 
not be told what's up. They will only make a fuss. 
My wife will understand — and Lois will he all right. 
We must get hold of Travers, if it is only for her 
sake. It would serve him rig^t if we left him to his 
fate." 

Stafford took a step forward. 

"I have a suggestion to make. Colonel," he said. 

Colonel Carmichael looked at him. Throughout 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



STAFFORD INTERVENES 303 

the interview Stafford had acted and spoken like a 
man who is weighed down by a burden of terrible 
doubt and perplexity. He alone of the three men had 
shown the first sign of emotion, and emotion in the 
face of death was for the Colonel no better than fear. 
His face hardened. 

"Well," he said, "what is it?" 

"Rajah Nehal Singh is not a barbarian," Stafford 
began. "I believe he would listen to reason if one 
of us could get hold of him. He seems to have his 
country's welfare at heart, and if it was explained to 
what horrible bloodshed he was leading it — " 

"There must be no cringing!" Colonel Carmichael 
interrupted sharply. 

"It will not be a case of cringing. We could sim- 
ply put the matter before him." 

"There is something in what Stafford says," Nich- 
olson agreed. "From what I know of the Rajah, he 
seems both reasonable and humane. He may have 
yielded to his father's importunities in a fit of anger, 
and is perhaps already wishing himself well out of 
the mess. For the women's sake, Colonel, we ought 
to have a shot — and not all for the women's sake, 
either. Heaven knows what this business will cost 
England if it comes to a head I" 

Colonel Carmichael bit his lip impatiently. He did 
not recognize his own motives of desiring a last hand- 
to-hand stru^Ie. They were those of an old man who 
sees Cheltenham and stagnation looming in the dis- 
tance and prays for death. But his common sense con- 
quered the seltish promptings. 

"Who would be likely to undertake the misiion with 
any hope of success ?" he asked. ' 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG60gle 



304 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Nehal Singh and I were, toward the end, rather 
more than friendly," Nicholson began. "I believe he 
entertained a real liking for me — " 

"If any one goes, I must!" The interruption came 
from Stafford. His head was raised. He faced the 
two men with a stem determination. "No, Nich- 
olson ; I know all you want to say. I have no sort of 
sympathy with the natives — I haven't your power over 
them. But this is different. I have a power. I may 
have. Let me go. If I fail, then you can try." 

"By the time you have failed it will be too late," 
Nicholson returned. He was watching Stafford with 
almost pitying curiosity. His keen instinct penetrated 
the man's strained and nervous bearing to some con- 
flict which seemed to have had its birth with the first 
mention of Nehal Singh's name. 

"It will not be too late," Stafford answered per- 
sistently. "I ask for an hour. Colonel. In an hour 
I shall know — whether — whether I have the power." 

"Captain Stafford, are you mad!" the Colond said 
sternly. "This is not a time for experiments," 

"I ask for an hour," Stafford repeated, and there was 
an emphasis and earnestness in his voice which cut 
short Colonel Carmichael's angry sarcasm. "At the 
end of that time Nicholson can do what he likes. I 
am not mad. I beg of you to ask no questions. I can 
not answer them. I can only tell you that I have a 
great responsibility — toward you all and toward an- 
other." 

Colonel Carmichaet was silent for a moment. Staf- 
ford's manner awed and troubled him in spite of him- 
self. 

"Very well," he said at last. "I give you an hour. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



STAFFORD INTERVENES 305 

During that time we will make preparations for the 
worst." He took out his watch. "It is now eleven. At 
twelve the matter passes into Nicholson's hands." 

Stafford saluted. 

"I understand. Colonel." 

Nicholson accompanied him toward the door. 

"God-speed !" he said simply. Stafford hesitated, his 
heavy eyes resting on the fine face of his brother- 
officer with an almost passionate gratitude. 

"Thank you, Nicholson, thank you. God help me 
to do what is right !" 

He turned and hurried from the room. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



ARCHIBALD TRAVERS stood in his favorite at- 
titude by the window, his shoulder propped against 
the casement, his arms folded, a smile of good-na- 
tured amusement on his healthy face. 

"My dear child," he protested, "what earthly inter- 
est can it have for you to know the pros and ccms of 
the business? You wouldn't understand, and that 
small head would ache for a week afterward. Be 
content with the outline of the thing. Of course it 
has all been frightfully unfortunate. But the Rajah 
wasn't to be held back. He believed the mine was go- 
ing to be the making of Marut — and for a matter of 
fact so did I at first, otherwise I shouldn't have put aU 
my money in it. The fellow had an enthusiasm and 
confidence which fairly carried us off our feet. Well, 
it's done, and it's no use crying about it. The best 
thing we can do is to clear out of Marut as fast as we 
can. People are bound to be disagreeable about it." 

"The Carys are ruined too?" she asked. 

"Oh, I don't know — ^they have lost a bit, I suppose." 
His voice sounded unpleasant. "At any rate, I'll say 
that for them — they behaved as people of their ex- 
traction would behave. First the mother poured out 
a torrent of abuse over the poor Rajah which would 
have been the envy of a fish-wife, and then the daugh- 
306 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MURDER 307 

ter turned on me." He laughed. "It was a most 
powerful scene of feminine hysterics. I was glad that 
you were not there." 

Lois sat silent, her head resting on her hand, her 
eyes fixed thoughtfully on the table, 

"And what are we going to do?" she asked at last, 
"You take the matter so easily, but if we are really 
ruined — " 

He laid his hand affectionately on her shoulder. 

"/ am ruined, Lois. I did not say that you were. 
Even with your rather low opinion of me, you could 
hardly have supposed that I would touch your money. 
You are well enough off to do what you like. As for 
me — " he squared his shoulders — "I feel quite capable 
of starting things all over again." 

His tone touched her. She looked up, and her face 
softened. There was nothing that could have made 
her happier than to have discovered in her husband 
some elements of omrage and sincerity. 

"Of course, Archibald, whatever is mine is yours," 
she said, "You must have known that," 

"My dear generous little woman!" He bent over 
her and kissed her, apparently unconscious that she 
instinctively drew back from his caress. "If you really 
will help me, no doubt I shall build things up again 
in no time, and this one blunder won't count for much. 
You are a worthy comrade for a man." 

Perhaps he had accepted her offer too quickly, per- 
haps his tone jarred on her as too elated, too sat- 
isfied. She got up, pushing her letters quickly to one 
side. 

"You really wish us to start for Madras to-night?" 

"Yes, if you can manage it. It is important that 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



3o6 THE NATIVE BORN 

I should get back as soon as possible, and the business 
here is finished." 

"Very well. I will pack up as much as I can. The 
rest must be sent on afterward." 

He let her reach the door before he stopped her 
again. 

"By the way, Lois, there is one thii^ I must ask 
you. I do not wish you to have any further inter- 
course with that Beatrice Cary. She is not a person 
■with whom I should wish my wife to associate. You 
were right about her — she is a bad, unscrupulous 
woman." 

With her hand on the curtain she turned and looked 
back at him. A cloud of curious distrust passed over 
her pale face. 

"I never said that she was bad or unscrupulous. I 
do not believe that she is. You say that now, but it 
was not your old opinion," 

"I suppose it is possible to see people in different 
and less agreeable lights ?" he retorted sharply. 

"Only too possible. But as she was never a friend 
of mine, and we are leaving within the next few hours, 
the injunction to avoid her is unnecessary." She 
paused as though listening. "I hear some one talking 
to the syce," she went on hurriedly, "It sounds like 
Captain Stafford's voice. Archibald" — she turned and 
came quickly to his side — "please let me out of the 
verandah. I don't want to meet him." 

He caught her by the wrist and pushed her bade 
The movement was brutal, unlike his usual gentle- 
ness, and she saw by the expression of his face that for 
the moment he had lost all consciousness of what be 
was doing. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MURDER 309 

"I don't want to see him either. Go and tell him 
that I am not at home — ^that I have started for Madras 
— quick I Don't stand there staring," 

His extraordinary excitement, apparently unreason- 
able and entirely opposed to his calm, easy-going hab- 
its, had the effect of setting fire to her dormant sus- 
picion. She wrenched herself free. 

"I am not going to tell him a He," she said firmly. 

"Lois, you are a little fooll Do as I tell you. It 
isn't a lie — only a piece of conventional humbug which 
everybody understands. There, please t" His tone of 
entreaty was more disagreeable to her than his rough- 
ness. All the pride and rigidity of her Puritan tem- 
perament was up in arms against the indefinable some- 
thing which it had long ago recognized and despised. 

"It is not conventional humbug," she retorted — 
"not in this case. You are lying because you arc 
I afraid, because you have a reason for not seeing 
Captain Stafford which you won't tell me." 

He had not time to answer. The curtains were 
pushed on one side, and Stafford entered hurriedly. He 
was covered with dust and looked haggard and ex- 
hausted. He did not seem to see Lois, though she 
stood immediately in front of him. His eyes passed 
over her head to Travers, 

"I am sorry to come in unannounced," he said, 
without giving cither an opportunity to speak, "but 
your servant was making difHculties, and I have not a 
minute to lose. I have galloped every inch of the 
way here from the Colonel's bungalow, I must speak 
to you at once, Travers, alone." 

Lois went toward the door. As she passed him she 
saw him look at her for the first time. And she went 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



3IO THE NATIVE BORN 

her way blinded with tears that had no cause save in 
the stem, unhappy face which had flashed its message 
to her. For she knew that his glance had been a mes- 
sage ; that he had tried to explain, and that she had not 
understood. The curtain fell behind her, and StaflFord 
crossed the room to Travers' side. 

"You have heard what has happened?" he demanded. 

Travers had resumed his old attitude of indiffer- 
ence. Only his eyes betrayed the uneasiness which fae 
was really feeling. 

"Do you mean the Rajah? No, I haven't heard 
anything, but if he is making himself a nuisance, I 
am not surprised. I expected it." 

"Don't talk like that!" Stafford exclaimed, bring- 
ing his clenched hand down on the table. "How dare 
you I Have you no sense of responsibility ? For you 
it was no more than a doubtful speculation, and you 
took care that there were no risks; but for Marut it 
means — Heaven knows what it means !" 

"Nothing I" returned Travers coolly. "Nothing to 
get heated about. The Rajah feels sore, no doubt, but 
that will pass. And that is not my fault. It would 
have been all right if Miss Cary had not — well, made 
such a fool of herself, and incidentally of us all." 

Stafford gazed steadily at the man who smiled at 
Jhim. He could not understand a character so absolute- 
ly without all moral foundations. 

"You are no doubt preparing to start for Madras?" 
be asked, controlling his voice with a strong effort. 

"Certainly. There is nothing more to be done here." 

"Let me tell you that you are not likely to leave 
Marut alive." 

Travers laughed. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



'' MURDER 311 

"Nonsense, my dear Captain 1 I am not to be 
frightened with nursery tales." 

"It is not a nursery tale. I give you my word of 
honor that before nightfall we shall be overwhelmed 
by a force a hundred times lai^r than anjrthing we can 
Ining on the field for weeks to come," 

Travers shifted his position carelessly. Stafford 
had not succeeded in frightening him. He did not be- 
lieve in native rebellions. What he had seen of the 
Hindu character convinced him of its fundamental 
cowardice and incapability for independent action. 

"A few blank cartridges will bring the Rajah very 
quickly to his senses," he assured Stafford, with per- 
fect good-humor. "We have nothing to be afraid of 
in that quarter." 

"You really think that?" Stafford demanded sig- 
nificantly. "Knowing what you know, you think we 
have no cause to fear him?" 

Travers changed color. The uneasy flicker in his 
eyes returned. 

"What on earth do you mean?" 

"You know very well. You know whom we shall 
be fighting against." 

"Of course — a headlong, inexperienced Hindu 
prince — " 

"You are choosing to have a very short memory. 
Nefaal Singh is more than that." 

Travers stood upright. The healthy glow had died 
out of his cheeks, 

"Look here, Stafford," he said roughly, "what is it 
you want ? I can see you want something." 

"Yes. Give me back my promise. I can not keep it 
any longer." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



313 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Do you think I extort promises that I don't want 
kept? Are you in earnest?" 

"Yes, terribly in earnest. Look the thing in the 
face, Travers. Our lives, and, what is far more, the 
lives of our women and Heaven knows how many of 
our countrymen, hang in the balance. If you don't 
believe me, ask Nicholson." 

"I shall believe what I like!" Travers began to 
pace backward and forward, bis mind busy with 
lightning calculations. Before nightfall they would 
be out of Manit. Stafford was exaggerating the dan- 
ger, perhaps for his own purposes. The whole thing 
was nonsense. 

"I keep you to your promise," he said obstinately. 

Stafford lifted his head. The man's natural reserve 
and conventionalism were borne down by the sense of 
his helplessness. He was fighting against a giant of 
egoism, as it seemed to him, of gross and criminal stu- 
pidity, for the lives of untold hundreds. 

"You can not realize what you arc doing," he said. 
"It is our one hope of holding the Rajah's hand, and 
with every moment the danger is increasing. As I 
came along the road I passed crowds of natives on the 
way to the palace. Most of them were men from your 
mine, Travers, and they had an ugly look. They did 
not touch me, it is true, but I believe they are only 
waiting for Nehal Singh's order, and then it will be 
too late. Travers, we must do everything in our power 
to prevent him giving that order. I have promised 
Colonel Carmichael to do what I could. At twelve I 
must be back, or — " 

Travers swung around. His face was livid. 

"You told him — ?" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MURDER 313 

"No, but I must. I can not keep my protniae. You 
must set me free, I gave it you because you told me 
that I was not concerned. Now I am concerned, I dare 
not keep silence," 

"My dear fellow, you must — that is, if you are a 
man of honor." 

"Of what use is the secret to you ?" 

"That is my affair. There was a time when you 
were anxious enough to keep it," 

"It was for Lois' sake. The two things were bound 
up together. She can not be spared any longer." 

"You think not? I am of another opinion. I put 
my wife's peace of mind higher than your old-maidish 
alarms." Travers faced his companion with the assur- 
ance of a man who feels that he has the whip-hand. 
His experience taught him that a man of certain ortho- 
dox principles has a very limited sphere of action. 
He runs in herds with hundreds of other men of the 
same mould, and under given circumstances has only 
one course of conduct open to him. Had Travers been 
in Stafiford's place, no one living could have told what 
he would do. But Stailord had no choice — at least, 
so Travers judged. 

"You are one of honor's Pharisees, my dear fellow," 
he said frankly. "You can't get out of your promise, 
and you know it. You ding to the letter of the law. It 
is your way. You had better go back to the Colonel 
and tell him to manage the Rajah in his own style." 

The clock on the table chimed the half-hour. It was 
ten minutes' full gallop back to the Colonel's bungalow. 
Stafford set his teeth in a white heat of despair. 

"If you have no consideration for the Station, for 
your own wife, for your own country, at least consider 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



314 THE NATIVE BORN 

yourself I" he exclaimed. "Are you blind to the dan- 
ger? We have scarcely fifty men, and up there are 
thousands quietly waiting for the Rajah's signal. You 
ntust have seen them with your own eyes pouring 
through — " 

"I saw any amount of dirty pilgrims, and got out 
of the way as fast as I could," was Travers' smiling 
retort, 

Stafford stood baffled and helpless. For the first 
time he was able to recognize and appreciate a certain 
type of Englishman to which he himself to some ex- 
tent belonged — an arrogant ignoramus who, en- 
camped behind his wall of superiority, fears nothing 
because he sees nothing, and sees nothing because out- 
side the walls there can not possibly be anything worth 
looking at. Nicholson had torn down Stafford's imag- 
ined security, and he stood aghast at his old insolent 
self-confidence as reflected in Travers' smiling face, 

"To be quite honest with you," the latter went on, 
after a moment's pause, "I have very little faith in our 
dreadful danger. Admitted that I led the Rajali on a 
more than doubtful speculation, admitted that Miss 
Cary went further than she need have done, it is still 
most unlikely that his injured feelings are going to 
lead him to such a desperate step as to enter into con- 
flict with the whole Empire. Believe me, Stafford, the 
idea is ridiculous, and I have not the least intention 
of throwing up my own hard-won security — " 

It was a bad slip, and he knew it. Stafford, who 
had stood with his face half averted, in an attitude of 
irresolution, swung round. 

"Your security ?" he echoed. 

Travers shrugged his sboulden. H« had made a 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MURDER 315 

mistake, but he saw no reason to be afraid of Stafford 
or of any one in Manit. 

"I said 'my security,' " he repeated. 

Stafford clenched his fists. The expression on his 
gaunt, rugged face showed that he had understood 
the full import of Travers' words. 

"You blackguard I" he said under his breath. 

Travers turned scarlet. 

"Mind yourself, Captain Stafford. You may find 
yourself outside the door quicker than you care for 
it I" 

"You blackguard!" Stafford repeated furiously. 
"I haven't a better name for you. You have simply 
humbu^ed me with your lies about Lois and your 
devotion to her — " 

Travers strode at him. 

"How dare you !" 

"Don't bluster, Travers I It can't hide what I sec. 
You married Lois for her money — " 

"Hold your infernal tongue t" 

"And now you are afraid. Well, you shall have 
some cause." He picked up his helmet, which lay on 
the table. "I gave you my promise because you as- 
sured me it was for Lois' happiness, and I believed 
you. According to my ideas, both of them were better 
left in ignorance. I did not know that you had your 
own motives — silly fool that I am!" He turned to 
hurry from the room. Travers barred his way. 

"What are you going to do?" 

"I shall tell the Colonel the truth 1" 

"It will break his heart." 

"I do not believe it. Out of the way, Travers 1" 

"And then?" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



3i6 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Rajah Nehal Singh shall be told." 

"Have you (X>n5idered the consequences?" 

"I have." 

"Lois will be ruined !" 

"You will be ruined. Lois will have my protection, 
thank God I" 

The two men faced eath other an instant in silence. 
Travers' face betrayed a curious complex emotion of 
desperation and shame. He had been called a black- 
guard, and the word had stung like the cut of a horse- 
whip. He had never believed it possible that any man 
should have the right to use such a term — to him, the 
embodiment of geniality, good-humor and good-na- 
ture. He did not believe even now that any one had 
the right. He was not an unprincipled man — not in 
the sense that he had ever consciously done wrong. 
He did not know what wrong was — his one concep- 
tion being an act putting him within reach of the law ; 
and of such an indiscretion he had never been guilty. 
Throughout his scheming he had always pictured him- 
self as a complaisant Napoleon of finance, combining 
business with pleasure. His conduct toward Lois had 
been based on this standpoint. He was genuinely 
fond of her, and is there any law forbidding a man to 
lay firm hold upon his wife's money? Yet Stafford 
had called him a blackguard, and Stafford was the 
world — the world of respectability of which Travers 
had believed himself a gifted member. For the mo- 
ment the incomprehensible insult was more to him than 
the coming danger to which his plans were put. 

"You look at me as though I had committed a 
crime !" he exclaimed, in a tone of injured protest. 

"You have," Stafford answered steadily. "You 



:,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



;iii(l tlicii duly — Travers liri'd, Pa{[e JiS 



)glc 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



MURDER 317 

have fooled me, playing on my prejudices, and God 
knows what other weaknesses. I won't say anything 
of that. 1 deserve my share of blame. But you have 
tricked and deceived a woman. You have deceived 
an honorable man into a dishonorable venture. You 
have brought disaster on your own country. You are 
no more than a common adventurer. You are the par- 
asite to whom we owe all our misfortunes, and—" 

"Stafford, take care 1" 

"Out of the way I I am gomg to put an end to it 
all I" 

Travers flung the excited man back. Shame is a 
dangerous poison in the blood of base natures. It is 
merely the precursor to a state of absolute license 
where self-control, self-respect are flung to the winds 
and the devil is set free to work his full, unchecked 
will. Travers glared at Stafford, hating his upright 
bearing, his upright indignation with a violence to 
which murder would have been the only true expres- 
sion. 

"You are not going till I have your promise to hold 
your tongue!" he said between his teeth. 

Stafford flung the other's detaining hand from him. 
Freed from his laming diseased conscience, and roused 
to activity, he acted like a man of lightning determin- 
ation and iron will. 

"That you will never have, and you are a scoundrel 
to ask for it As you like — there are other exits than 
the door." He swung round and made for the open 
window. 

Travers did not stop him. He stood rooted to the 
spot, his hand on the revolver which he carried at his 
side. The revolver had not been meant for Stafford. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



3i8 THE NATIVE BORN 

Travers' quick eyes had cau^t sight of something 
creeping slowly and stealthily up the verandah steps. 
He had seen the flash of a knife, and a cry of wamii^ 
had rushed to his lips. The cry was never uttered. 
Devil and angel fought their last battle over Travers' 
drifting, rudderless nature. The word "scoundrel" 
had been the devil's winning cast. 

"Go, then, and be damned to you !" Travers shrieked. 

He saw Stafford reach the verandah steps. The 
stalwart khaki-clad figure was photographed on his 
reeling brain. He heard the dank of a sword against 
the first stone step. He tried to cry out — afterward 
he tried to believe that he had cried out — but it was 
too late. The hidden something which had crouched 
behind the heavy creepers sprang up — for a short 
second seemed to tower above the unconscious oflScer 
— then a gleam of light flashed down with the black 
hand. Stafford flung up his arms, swung around, and 
fell face downward on the verandah. There was a 
short, stifled groan, and then— «iid then only — ^Travers 
fired. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER VI 

CLBAHING AWAY THE RUBBISH 

ALL the night following the momentous meet- 
ing of the Marut Diamond Company Mrs. Cary had 
kept to her room, the door locked against her 
daughter, and had sobbed and wailed in a manner 
befitting the victim of a hard and undeserved fate. 

But in reality hers was the rage of a clumsy work- 
man who has cut himself with his own tools. Her 
own child, her partner and co-worker, had upset 
the erection of years. She saw themselves cast out 
of Marut; she saw the desolate wandering over the 
earth's surface, this time without the consolation 
and protection of wealth. For she knew that Bea- 
trice's confession was to go further. Beatrice had 
made the announcement of her plans quietly but 
firmly as they had driven home from the club-house. 

"To-morrow everybody shall know everything 
there is to know," she had said, and had remained 
obdurate to all her mother's commands and plead- 
ings. "I do consider you. I consider you even 
now. I mean to save you and myself. But this 
time it must be in another way. Your scheming 
has only brought us into deeper trouble. We must 
start afresh." 

"But how? But how?" her mother had said, 
wringing her hands in uncontrolled despair. "Where 
319 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



320 THE NATIVE BORN 

are we to start? How are we ever going to make 
people believe in us, now we have no money ?" 

"It does not matter what people believe," Beatrice 
had replied, "With our money and our lies we 
have been building mud-hovels, and now we are going 
to build palaces. That's all that matters." 

Mrs. Cary had not understood. She thought Bea- 
trice had gone mad, and knowing that with madness, 
reasoning is in vain, she shut herself up in her room, 
pulled down the blinds, and believed by this os- 
trich-like proceeding that she could keep off the 
inevitable moment when they would have to be 
pulled up again and the cold, pitiless reality faced. 

But Beatrice went her way undeterred. From 
Stafford's bungalow she drove to the Travers'. The 
place was little more than an ill-cared-for shanty, 
the garden overgrown with weeds, the rooms damp, 
ill-aired and badly furnished, its reputation for mis- 
fortune phenomenal. Travers had taken it as the 
only bungalow to be had for such a short period 
as he intended to stay in Marut, and Lois had naade 
no objection. Her energy and determined striving 
after everything that was graceful and beautiful 
was systematically crushed out of sight. She never 
protested, never laid any difficulties in Travers' path. 
She seemed to shrink into herself and live an in- 
visible life of her own, leaving him to go his way. 
She could not help him. She could build up noth- 
ing on a character whose foundations were of shift- 
ing sand. 

And never had she been more fully convinced 
of her own powerlessness and of his absolute in- 
dependence than after their brief and stonny inter- 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CLEARING THE RUBBISH 321 

view before Stafford's entry. She had felt how for 
a moment their two diametrically opposed natures 
had faced each other. She had felt a brief joyful 
satisfaction in at last coming to a hand-to-hand 
struggle with him ; but then, as usual, with a smile 
and an easy word he had eluded her. So it had 
always been — so it would always be. Too late she 
realized that she had thrown away her life upon a 
man who had no need of her devotion. Too late 
she realized that all sacrifices are wasted unless the 
ennobling of the sacrificer's character he considered. 
For true happiness, true owitent and goodness can 
not be given. They must be self-won, or they are 
no more than hothouse plants which shrivel to- 
gether in the cold blast of an east wind. Lois had 
sacrificed herself to bring true happiness and con- 
tent and goodness into Travers' life, and had failed. 
She had failed all the more signally because she 
had never loved him. She had loved Stafford — ex- 
traordinary and terrible as it seemed to her, she 
still loved him. She could not root him out of her 
life, and though his image was overshadowed by a 
greater and more noble figure he retained his place. 
The glance they had exchanged had pierced down 
to the very center of her being, and if it had re- 
vealed nothing to her it had also revealed every- 
thing. For she knew now that the strange bond 
which had linked them together from the begin- 
ning united them still. Some reckless and unscru- 
pulous hand had sundered them outwardly, and 
her instinct, guided by a hundred significant inci- 
dents, told her whose hand it had been. She fled 
to her little glopm/ sitting-room, with its wom- 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



333 THE NATIVE BORN 

out, tasteless ftimiture and drab walls, and fought 
her sorrow and despair single-handed and in her 
own way. She had a man's dislike for tears — 
though, being a woman, they came all too easily 
to her — and she fought against them now with all 
the strength at her command, with all the pluck 
which in happier days had made her so splendid 
a partner in a "losing game." She had made a dis- 
astrous mistake in her life, but it was not too late. 

The cathedral should go on in its unseen growth, 
and every conquered tear, every brave smile was 
a fresh stone bringing it nearer to perfection. God 
be thanked for the fetishes with which the less for- 
tunate of us are still allowed to adorn the barren 
walls of our lifel The cathedral, the imaginary 
"sheltering-place for others," was Lois' fetish, and 
the thought of it and of the strong-faced man with 
whom she worked in spiritual partnership was a 
deep, inspiring consolation. It stood at her right 
hand and helped partly to overthrow the weight 
of dread and evil presentiment which had borne 
down upon her all too sensitive and superstitious 
temperament as she had left her husband and Staf- 
ford alone. 

Thus it was that, when the curtains of her room were 
suddenly parted and Beatrice stood on the threshold, 
she could face the new-comer with a calm if grave de- 
meanor. She remembered her husband's last injunc- 
tions, but it was too late ; and moreover, there was an 
expression on Beatrice's face which told her that the 
visit was no ordinary one. A woman's instinct is her 
spiritual hand feeling throu^^ the darkness to another's 
soul. Beatrice and Lois watched each other without 



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CLEARING THE RUBBISH 323 

•mile or greeting. They forgot the outward formalities 
of life in the suddenly aroused interest which they 
found in each other, in the consciousness that in 
this, their first meeting alone, they were to become 
closely united. 

They were indeed striking contrasts. At no time 
had they seemed more so than now, as they stood 
there silently facing each other — Beatrice, tall, fair 
with the wonderful Madonna beauty ; Lois, small 
and dark, the quick and fiery temperament flashing 
to meet the other's dignity and apparent calm. And 
yet at no time had the barrier between them been 
so insignificant, so slight. Beatrice advanced slowly 
from the door, where she had first hesitated. 

"May I speak with you, Mrs. Travers?" she asked. 

Lois nodded, mechanically holding out her hand. 
Her eyes were riveted on the other's grave face, 
drinking in with a real admiration a loveliness from 
which the old marring lines of mockery and cyni- 
cism had been swept away. 

"Won't you sit down?" she said gently. "You 
look tired and pale." 

Beatrice seemed not to hear. She took the out- 
stretched hand between both her own. Her head 
was a little bent, and as she looked full into Lois' 
foce her expression softened and saddened. 

"You, too, are unhappy I" she said. 

Lois made no answer. She was overwhelmed 
by the directness of the statement, but still more 
by the change in Beatrice's voice. It sounded low 
and unsteady, as though a storm of feeling lay close 
beneath the surface. "Do you wonder how I know?" 
Beatrice went on, after an instant's pause. 



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324 THE NATIVE BORN 

"I don't know," Lois answered, "and for the mo- 
ment we won't talk about such things. I can't 
bear to see you look so — so ill. You must sit there 
and let me get you something to drink. Have you 
walked ?" 

Beatrice yielded this time to the kindly persua- 
sion. She sank down in the proffered chair, but 
she retained Lois' hand. 

"No, I drove. But I am tired. It was not easy 
work getting through the crowd. They did not seem 
to want to let me pass. Once or twice I thoug^it they 
were going to attack me." 

Lois laughed. 

"They arc only pilgrims. They come every year, 
and are quite harmless. Hark at them now t There 
must be a band of them going past. Would you like to 
watch from the verandah? It is really amusing — " 

"No, no; this is not the time for amusement. I 
have something else to do. Mrs, Travers, you are 
very kind to me. You have the right to hate me." 

"I — hate you? Why should I, Beatrice?" 

"You call me Beatrice. But we have never been 
friends." 

"Not till now." 

"Do you think we are going to be ?' 

Lois drew up a stool and seated herself at Bea- 
trice's side. Something in the other's firm, gentle 
hold and in the low voice made her heart ache. 

"I don't know, I feel as though we were already." 

"Don't feel that, because it is not possible. Mrs. 
Travers, do you know who it was who came be- 
tween you and John Stafford ?" Lois' head sank. "I 



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CLEARING THE RUBBISH 325 

see that you do. Yes, I did my best. I wanted his 
position — and money. Are you still my friend?" 

Lois met the grave, questioning eyes with a sud- 
den energy. 

"Yes. That is all over and past, I like you now, 
I liked you the moment you entered the room. 
You seemed different," 

Beatrice smiled faintly. 

"And you, too, are different from any one I have 
ever known. Another woman would not have been 
able to forgive as you have done. I have spoiled your 
life, I can see that." 

Lois pressed her hand. 

"Hush I You must not say so. I am married—" 

"Lois, I have spoiled your life. I have come here 
to tell you the truth, and you also must be truth- 
ful. For pity's sake, let us put lies and humbug 
on one side. I am sick of them !" For a moment 
she seemed to fight desperately with herself, and 
then she went on more quietly : "I have spoiled your 
life. I have spoiled the life of a man who trusted me. 
I have spoiled my own. That is what I have done in 
the twenty-five years given me to work in. I have 
lied and cheated my way through. And this is the end 
^miserable bankruptcy." 

"Yes," Lois said, nodding. "I heard about it," 

"About what? Has your husband told you?" 

"The Marut Company has failed." 

Beatrice sat silent a moment. Her free hand sup- 
ported the firmly moulded chin, her eyes were fixed 
thoughtfully in front of her. 

"I did not mean that sort of bankruptcy," she said 



by Google 



326 THE NATIVE BORN 

at last. "That doesn't count. Lois. I used to think 
it meant the worst sort of misfortune, but it doesn't. 
The inner bankruptcy is worse. The loss of self- 
respect, of honor, of the trust of those one— cares 
for — " Again the low voice trembled dangerously, 
but she went on : "Don't commiserate with me, 
kind-hearted little woman. I don't need your pity 
— now. Bankruptcy isn't so bad. It is better than 
living on false credit. When the crash is over, one 
picks oneself up again. Hope is eternal, and on the 
ruins — " 

"One can build cathedrals," Lois interposed 
dreamily. 

"Yes, or palaces. But first the old rubbish must 
be cleared away. One must pay one's debts, I 
have very many to pay. First to you, Lois — " 

"Don't ! I have told you that that is all over." 

" — and then to Captain Stafford. Lois, I did want to 
take him away from you, but I never succeeded. It 
was something else that did it — something which 
I have never understood," 

"But which my husband knows?" 

Beatrice nodded. She was not there to spare 
Lois or herself. She was there to tell the truth. 

"Yes, he knows. But it is a mystery which we 
shall never penetrate. At any rate, I have set Cap- 
tain Stafford free." 

Lois said nothing. Her thoughts were busy try- 
ing to piece together the secret. With every mo- 
ment distrust and suspicion were taking stronger 
hold upon her. 

"Lois," Beatrice went on, "that is the least of it 
all. The worst of all is that I can not pay my debts 



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CLEARING THE RUBBISH 327 

alone. I must go on ruining others. I must ruin 
you." 

Lois stiffened. She sat upright, as though pre- 
paring herself for a shock which she dimly antici- 
pated. 

"Tell me what you mean," she said. 

"You remember it was I who tempted Rajah Ne- 
hal Singh into forming the Marut Company — " 

"That is not what you want to say. It was my 
husband's scheme." 

"Very well, it was our scheme, if you like. At 
any rate, the whole responsibility rests — or should 
rest — upon our shoulders. We have ruined him, 
and we have ruined hundreds of others. It is only 
fair that we should bear our share of the calamity." 

"And haven't we done so? You have lost ajl your 
money. That is punishment enough. And Archie, 
too^" She paused, a fierce note of defiance ringing 
out with her last words. Beatrice made no answer, 
and the two women looked at each other in signifi- 
cant silence. "You don't mean that — that it was — 
dishonest ?" 

"I have no doubt Mr. Travers believed the mine 
was going to be a success. But it has failed, and 
the whole burden of the failure rests upon others, 
not upon him." 

"My husband is ruined, too. All his money is 
gone." 

"Yours remains." 

"Yes, but — " She stammered and broke off help- 
lessly. 

Beatrice said nothing more. She saw the process 
of rapid thought on her companion's working face. 



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328 THE NATIVE BORN 

She knew there was no need to explain further the 
careful precautions which Travers had made for his 
own safety. She knew that for his wife there was 
only one action possible. Lois rose to her feet. 

"You must forgive me," she said, a new and dan- 
gerous light in her dark eyes. "I am very slow and 
stupid about business matters, but I understand 
what you have been trying to say to me. You have 
pointed out a duty to me which otherwise, in my 
ignorance, I might have overlooked. My husband 
has incurred responsibilities which must be met — 
if not by him, at any rate by me. No third person 
shall take his share of the burden — certainly not 
the Rajah, who was no more than the tool which 
my husband used. I would be glad if you would 
let every one know that of course my money wfll 
go toward refunding those whom the failure of the 
mine has injured." 

Beatrice rose also. She put her two hands on 
Lois' shoulders. 

"You needn't do it," she said. "The money is 
yours. It is a thing that is done every day. The 
world won't say much if you stick to what is yours." 

"It is not mine. My husband's responsibilities 
are my responsibilities." She paused, and then 
went on quietly : "Thank you for explaining to me. 
I should never have understood myself, and Archie 
- — no doubt dreads having to tell me that of course 
my money must go, too." She looked Beatrice full 
in the face, and they understood each other. There 
are some lies which a loyal woman must carry with 
her to the grave. Beatrice bent and kissed the cold 
face. 



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CLEARING THE RUBBISH 329 

"You do right," she said. "I knew you would. 
That is why I came to you. I have helped to bring 
down all this misfortune on Marut. I have helpied 
to lower us all in the eyes of those — those who used 
and ought to look up to us. Now you are going 
to lift us out of the mire — Lois, what was that?" 

The two women clung to each other. Hitherto 
there had been no sound in the adjoining room 
save the regular rise and fall of two voices. Now 
the startled listeners heard the report of a revol- 
ver, followed by a sudden, absolute silence. Lois 
shook herself free from Beatrice's instinctive clutch. 

"It is in my husband's room 1" she said hoarsely. 
"Stay here I I will go—" 

She hurried across the room and, thrusting open 
a curtained door, disappeared. The next instant 
Beatrice heard a cry which overcame every hesita- 
tion. Horror and despair called her in that sound, 
and the next moment she followed Lois' footsteps. 
She did not know what she expected to see. After- 
ward she believed that at the back of her mind 
there had been some thought of suicide. But it 
was not Travers' head that she saw pillowed against 
Lois' knee. Travers stood on the verandah, the 
smoking pistol still in his hand, his face livid and 
damp with fear. At his feet his wife was bending 
over the body of a man whom Beatrice recognized with 
a shock of pain. 

"What has happened?" she asked breathlessly. 
"What has happened?" 

Travers turned and stared at her. His eyes were 
glazed, and for the moment he did not seem tq 
know who she was. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



330 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Captain Stafford has — been murdered 1" he staoi- 
mered. "He was going down the steps when a na- 
tive attacked him. I — fired, but it was too late. 
Oh, thank God [ Here is Colonel Cannichael !" 

True enough, it was the Colonel himself who 
- sprang up the verandah steps. From beyond the 
ill-kept garden they heard the tramp of men and a 
low, continuous sound, like the threatening moan of 
the wind. On the verandah reigned a complete 
and awestruck silence. Colonel Carmichael bent 
over the unconscious man. 

"This is the beginning," he said somberly. "How 
did it happen?" 

"A native must have been lying in wait for him," 
Travers answered. "He struck at him with this." 
He held out a three-inch blade in a hand which 
shook like a child's. "I tried to save him, but 1 
couldn't. The man escaped, though I think I hit 
him," 

The Colonel knelt down by Lois' side, and draw- 
ing out his brandy-ilask tried to force a few drops 
between the purple lips. 

"We were expecting him every minute," he said, 
"but we couldn't wait. The danger was too press- 
ing. Here, man — it's all right. Look up." 

Captain Stafford's heavy eyelids had wavered. 
The Colonel shifted him into a higher position, his 
head still resting against Lois' knee. When the 
dying eyes opened they fell straight on the sweet 
dark face bent over him in loving pity. 

"Lois I" he whispered faintly. "Lois — my — kiss 
me!" 

Lois looked up at her husband. He nodded with- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CLEARING THE RUBBISH 331 

out meeting her eyes. Her lips rested on the chilly 
forehead. 

"Dear John I" 

"Lois — you — tell the Rajah " He struggled 

fiercely for breath and his raised hand pointed pite- 
ously at Travers. "Tell him — not — his own" — The 
words died into a choked silence. 

"Brandy — heret He's trying to say something. 
What is it, man?" 

Stafford turned with a last effort, his lips parted. 
A second time he pointed with a desperate insist- 
ency at Tvavers — then with a sudden quick-drawn 
sigh he sank back, his face against Lois' shoulder. 
Colonel Carmichael, who knew death too well, rose 
heavily to his feet. 

"It's all over," he said. "We can do nothing 
more for him, and we must leave him. Come, Lois." 

His stern command roused her from her stupor 
of half-incredulous sorrow. Gently she laid the 
lifeless head upon the cushions which Beatrice had 
brought, and crossed the hands over the quiet 
breast. This time she fought in vain against the 
blinding tears. They fell on the face of the dead 
man, and, moved by an irresistible impulse, she 
bent once more and kissed him. 

"God bless you, John !" Then she rose and faced 
her husband. "I can not help it," she said. "He is 
dead." 

Travers said nothing. He was clinging to the 
verandah, and his face was grey. Outside the noise 
and confusion had increased. They could hear yells 
and imprecations, and a stone whizzed through the 
trees, falling a few feet short of where the little 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



332 THE NATIVE BORN 

party stood. Colonel Carmichael shook Travcrs by 
the arm. 

"Don't stand there like that!" he said, his voice 
rough with contempt. "It can't be helped, and I 
dare say we shan't any of us be much better oS by 
to-morrow. I have a patrol outside waiting to take 
the ladies over to my bungalow. Mrs. Cary and 
Mrs. Berry are already there. There isn't a mo- 
ment to be lost. Rouse yourself and look to Lois. 
I will escort Miss Cary." He turned to Beatrice 
with a stiff bow. 'The enemy must at least find us 
united." 

"The enemy I" exclaimed Beatrice sharply. 

"The Rajah is our enemy," was the bitter an- 
swer. "You and Travers best know why." 

The two women exchanged one brief glance. Lois 
crossed the intervening space and took her husband's 
arm. 

"Archibald," she said, slowly and emphatically, 
"if this trouble has anything to do with the mine, 
it would be well to let the Rajah know that we also 
take our share. There must be no suspicion that — 
that we have not acted honorably or have shirked otir 
responsibilities." 

He stared at her with dull, listless eyes. 

"What do you mean, Lois? He knows I haven't 
a brass cent." 

"But I have. And of course my money must go 
to refund those whom you have unintentionally 
ruined." 

That roused him. He flung her on one side, with 
a desperate, goaded curse. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CLEARING THE RUBBISH 333 

"Your money! How dare youl It's not your 
money. Half of it is mine. I settled it on you." 

"If it is yours, I will give it back to you. You 
will use it as I say. If not, I shall use it for you." 

Colonel Carmicliael had reached the garden. He 
turned now, and there was a gleam of satisfaction 
in his eyes. 

"That's spoken like an honorable woman, Lois!" 
he said. "God bless you for it. But it's too late. 
Nicholson has already gone to Nehal Siogh. If he 
fails, there won't be any time to explain. Come on, 
or we shall have to fight our way throu^." 

He hurried on through the garden, Beatrice at 
his side. Husband and wife stood an instant alone, 
the body of poor Stafford between them. Lois' 
face was grave and contemptuous. 

"I do not know what you have done," she said — 
"I do not understand what part you played in John's 
life or in mine, nor how far you are innocent or 
guilty of bringing about all this misfortune — but I 
know this much — we shall take our share of trouble." 

"Lois, you are my wife! You have no right to 
go against me." 

"I have the right where my honor — where your hon- 
or—is concerned. I have the right to refuse to commit 
an act of gross injustice." She glanced down once 
more at the quiet face of the man who had held so per- 
sistently upon her life and heart, and her firmly com- 
pressed lips trembled. "Oh, Archie, was it worth while 
— just for a little bit of gain? Was it worth while? 
We might all have been so happy 1" 

He said nothing. His rage had sunk into 3 sul- 



:,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



334 THE NATIVE BORN 

len, do^ed defiance. The roar of voices beyond 
the compound suddenly subsided. They heard the 
Colonel's voice issuing a sharp command and the 
thud of grounded rifles. 

"We must go," she said. 

He followed her down the steps, his face pain- 
fully averted from the figure that lay motionless 
upon the ground. The world is but a reflection of 
ourselves. The sunshine is sad or joyful according 
to our moods. We read threats and promises in 
the smiles of others as our own heart is hopeful or 
distrusting. And for Travers, with the bloodstained 
hand, the poor lifeless body of his enemy had be- 
come the towering shadow of an approaching Ne- 
mesis. 



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CHAPTER VII 

IN THE TEUPLE OF VISHNU 

NICHOLSON rode his horse slowly through the 
crowd of dark, threatening faces. He did not hurry or 
show any sign of impatience, anger or fear. In his left 
hand he carried a riding-whip, but he made no use of 
it except as an encouragement to his well-trained 
charger, whose nose and broad breast forced a pas- 
sage, like a ship through the waves of a turbulent sea, 
and otherwise he was absolutely unarmed. A spec- 
tator ignorant of the truth might have taken him for 
an officer riding out on some ordinary duty, so little 
did the weight and seriousness of his real errand ap- 
pear written on the strong face beneath the shadow 
of the helmet. 

There was no opposition to his progress. His keen 
eyes noticed as he passed out of the residential quar- 
ter that, on the contrary, the crowd formed a sort of 
disordered escort which surged restlessly but silently 
about him. One man even laid hold upon his hanging 
bridle and led the horse through the less dense pas- 
sages; but the action was not a friendly one, and 
though no threats were uttered, Nicholson read a pas- 
sionate bitterness and distrust upon the faces that 
thrust themselves across his path or sprang up un- 
expectedly at his knee. For the most part they were 
men well known to him by sight. They belonged to 
335 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



336 THE NATIVE BORN 

a working caste whose circles had supplied Nehal 
Singh with his best workmen, though here and there 
Nicholson caught sight of the turbaned head of a small 
merchant or the naked body of a yogi. 

It was a significant fact that the worst of Marut's 
population — the beggars, thieves and vagrants — «ras 
mostly lacking. These men were the hope upon which 
Nehal Singh had built his Utopia, the industrious, in- 
telligent minority, and these were they whom he -was 
now calling about him by the power of personality and 
superstition. Nicholson knew enough of the Hindu 
character to be well aware that it was not the loss of 
employment nor of their small savings which had 
brought them together and put their knives in their 
hands ready to strike. The Hindu accepts misfortiaie 
with the languid stoicism of the fatalist ; injury and 
wrong rarely rouse him, especially, as in this case, 
when it comes too indirectly for him to tratt the real 
injurer. But to touch his reli^on is to touch the in> 
nermost sanctuary of his being, where are stored the 
hidden fires of fanatic energy, hatred and reckless 
courage. And Nehal Singh was their religion, their 
Messiah, the Avatar for whose coming their whole na- 
tion waited. Hitherto he had led them in peace, and 
they had followed, though other influences had been 
at work. 

Even in this moment he still controlled them. 
Nicholson felt that a strong unseen hand held the 
crowd in that strange silence beneath which rumbled 
and groaned the growing stoim. He had seen dark 
hands finger the unsheathed knives ; he had seen them 
reluctantly fall away. The hour had not yet come. 
Nehal Singh waited. For what? For him? The 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



IN THE TEMPLE OF! VISHNU 337 

idea seemed absurd, and yet, as Nicholson felt himself 
being swept on, it took stronger hold upon his mind 
and his faint hope of success revived. He believed 
that, once face to iace with the prince, he would be 
able to check the headlong disaster which was bearing 
down upon them all. They had been friends in a cu- 
rious unacknowlei^ed way. Nebal Singh would listen 
to him. He would be made to understand that one ad- 
venturer and one heartless woman do not make a na- 
tion ; that the injury done him was far from irrepar- 
able. 

A low exclamation dose at hand roused him frcHn 
his rapid considerations. He saw that the man who 
bad hold of his horse's bridle had turned and with one 
outstretched hand was pointir^ over the beads of the 
crowd. 

"Look, Sahib, look!" 

Nicholson glanced in the direction indicated. They 
were passing the site of the old Bazaar, now a black, 
scarred waste of machinery and disembowelled earth 
over which brooded a death-like quiet. Nicholson re- 
membered vividly the day he had ridden there at Nebal 
Singh's side. A breathless, eager humanity had 
worked and slaved beneath the scorching sun, re- 
doubling every effort as the fine commanding presence 
of the young ruler appeared among them. Then the 
clank of busy machinery bad mingled with the shouted 
orders of the English overseers, and Nehal Singh had 
turned to him with a grave pride and happiness. 

"See what your people have taught my people," he 
said. "They have taught them to seek their bread 
from the earth and to leave their dreams. This is 
only the beginnii^. The time shall come when they 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



338 THE NATIVE BORN 

shall stand shoulder to shoulder with their white 
brethren !" 

How had the over-sanguine prophecy been fulfilled ! 
The native at Nicholson's side pointed a finger of 
scorn and anger at the silent, ruined waste. 

"Devil — English devil !" he said laconically, and con- 
tinued on his way. 

Nicholson's lips tightened. His own words came 
back to him with a new significance: "In a strange 
country no one is an exception." This Travers, this 
one unscrupulous fortune-hunter, heedless of every- 
thing save his own advancement, had branded them 
all. He had undone, with the help of a heedless 
woman, the work of generations of heroic, honest labor. 
Truly the chain of individual responsibility is a long 
one! 

Nicholson had left G)IoneI Cannichael's bungalow 
at twelve o'clock. The increasing crowd and Staf- 
ford's prolonged absence had urged him to instant and 
independent action. In the best of cases, he had little 
faith in the brother-officer's secret mission. Stafford 
was not the man to exert any influence over the native 
mind. He was the type of the capable and well-mean- 
ing English officer who, excellent leader in his own 
country, is of small use when face to face with Indian 
problems of character and prejudice. Nicholson had 
judged himself the better advocate, and having oV 
tained the Colonel's reluctant permission, he had at 
oacx started for the royal palace. But his progress 
had been painfully slow, and he had made no effort to 
hurry. 

Any sign of anxiety or excitement would have 
looked like fear to the suspicious, hate-filled eyes of the 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



IN THE TEMPLE OF VISHNU 339 

men who swarmed about him, and whatever else hap- 
pened, they should not see an Englishman afraid. The 
knowledge that he rode there alone, the representative 
of his nation, added a greater dignity, a greater firm- 
ness to his already calm and upright bearing. It was 
no new situation for him — it is never an exceptional 
situation in a country where Englishmen are always 
in the minority — and it inspired him, as it had always 
done since his earliest lieutenant days. He knew that 
as he acted, looked, and spoke, so would the image of 
his country be stamped upon the minds of a hundred 
thousand and their children's children. There was 
no vanity, no self-importance in this conception of his 
duty. It was a stem, unbending acceptance of his 
responsibility ; and as in the lonely fort upon the fron- 
tier where he had dominated, unaided, month after 
month, over wild, antagonistic races, so now, unarmed 
and unprotected, he dominated over the fanatic rabble 
by the pure force of a complete personality. He was to 
all intents and purposes their prisoner, but he rode 
there as their conqueror; and that most splendid tri- 
umph of all triumphs — the unseen victory of will over 
■will — filled him with a new confidence and hope. 

Yet it was three o'clock before he reached the pal- 
ace gates. It seemed to him that they had deterred 
his progress for some unknown purpose, and the 
thought of those he had left behind caused him pro- 
found uneasiness. Native treachery was proverbial, 
and no doubt Nehal Singh felt himself justified in any 
conduct that seemed wise to him. In any case, there 
was no return. The crowd in front of Nicholson sank 
back like a receding tide as he rode through the open 
gates and then closed in behind, following in one 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



340 THE NATIVE BORN 

dense stream as he proceeded slowly up the splendid 
avenue. He felt now that he was in the hands of 
destiny. Through the trees he caught sight of the 
palace steps where Nehal Singh had stood the night 
before. No living soul moved. The whole world 
seemed to have concentrated itself behind him, a grim 
and silent force which was sweeping him onward — 
to what end he could not tell. 

Suddenly the native who still held his horse's bridle 
lifted his hand as he had done before and pointed 
ahead. 

"Look, Sahib!" he cried. "Look!" 

Nicholson made no sign. He retained his easy atti- 
tude, one hand loosely holding the reins, the other 
with the riding-whip resting negligently on his hip. 
There was no change in his bronzed face: his eyes took 
in the scene which an abrupt turn in the road revealed 
to him with a steadfast calm, though his pulses had 
begun to beat furiously. It was as though a painter 
with two strokes of a mighty brush had smeared the 
square before the temple with a great moving stain. 
Only one narrow white line reached up to the temple 
doorway. On either side, right up to the gopuras and 
stretching far away down the branching paths, a livit^ 
mass stood and waited, their faces turned toward 
him. Pilgrims they might have been, but he saw in 
the foremost row men with their dark hands clasped 
over the muzzles of their rifles, and every here and 
there the sunlight flashed back a reflection from the 
cold steel at their sides. They made no sound as he 
rode between them ; only a soft shuffling behind him 
told him that the human wall was closing in. He did 
not turn. His eyes passed calmly over the watching 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



IN THE TEMPLE OF VISHNU 341 

faces, and the hands that played at their dagger-hUts 
fell away as though the piercing gaze had paralyzed 
them. Thus he reached the temple, where he dis- 
mounted. 

No one had told him, but he well understood 
that this was his destination, and with a firm step 
passed into the inner court. For an instant the sud- 
den change from brilliant daylight to an almost com- 
plete darkness dazzled him. He saw nothing but a 
moving shadow intermingled with points of fire that 
glowed steadily in two long rows up to the altar, 
where fell a single ray of golden sunshine. Helmet 
in hand, he moved slowly forward, every nerve strung 
taut with suspense. As his eyes grew accustomed to 
the curious half-light, he saw that the unreal shadows 
were men grouped on either side behind rows of torch- 
bearers. The red flare fell on their fixed, unmoved 
faces, and threw weird shadows backward and for- 
ward among the massive pillars whose capitals faded 
into the intensified gloom overhead. There was no 
other movement, no other sound save Nicholson's own 
footsteps, which echoed loud and threatening in that 
petrified silence. On the altar itself a Holy Lamp 
burned steadily, and behind, half obliterated by a lone- 
ly, upright figure, the great three-headed god stretched 
out ghost-like arms into the sunshine that descended 
in a narrow ladder of pure light to mingle with the 
altar fire. 

Nicholson moved on. At the altar steps he came to 
a halt and waited. The figure did not stir nor seem 
to be aware of his presence. A torch-bearer knelt on 
the lower step, and the fiery deflection threw into plas- 
tic relief the set and pitiless features beneath the jew- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



343 THE NATIVE BORN 

eled turban. Gone was the old simplicity. The hands 
that lay clasped one upon the other on the splendid 
scimitar were loaded with gems, and from the turban 
a single diamond sparkled starlike in the changing lig^t. 
A splendid and romantic figure, truly; harmonizing 
with and dominating over the mysterious background. 
But it was not the splendor, nor even the stem tragedy 
written on the worn and haggard face, which caused 
Nicholson to feel a cold hand grasp at his bold self- 
conlidence. It was the sudden intuitive realization 
that here the battle began. He was no longer the 
master personality towering over a hydra-headed multi- 
tude. Here it was a man against a man, will against 
will, despair against despair. 

"Hail, Rajah Sahib !" he said in Hindustani. 
"Hail!" 

His voice had echoed into silence before Nehal 
Singh moved. Then he lifted his hand in greetit^. 

"Hail, Englishman!' 

"You know me," Nicholson went on, drawing nearer. 
"I am Nicholson, Captain Nicholson of the — Gurkhas." 

"I do not know you." There was a pitiless finality 
in the few words and in the gesture which acc<»n- 
panied them. 

Nicholson lifted his head to the light. 

"Nehal Singh, you He. I was and am your friend." 

He heard a stir behind him, and his instinct, doubly 
sharpened, felt how a dozen hands had flown to their 
weapons. Then again there was silence. His eyes 
had not flinched in their challenge. 

"I have no friends among traitors and cowards," 

The insult left Nicholson calm. Something in the 
tone in which the words were uttered, something that 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



IN THE TEMPLE OF VISHNU 343 

rang more like a broken-hearted despair than contempt, 
touched him profoundly. 

"Thou hast the power to say so. Rajah," he an- 
swered quietly. "I am alone and unarmed." 

The reproach went home to its mark. He saw the 
Rajah's hand tighten on the sword-hilt and a deeper 
shadow pass over the handsome features. 

"Thou art right," Nehal Singh said. "I have mis- 
used my power, and that I will not do. Whilst thou 
art here thou needst fear neither insult nor danger." 

"I fear neither," was the answer. A bitter, scorn- 
ful smile lifted the corners of the set lips. 

"So thou sayest." Then, with a gesture of im- 
patience, he went on: "Thou hast sought me here, 
and it is well. I also have sought thee, for I have a 
message that thou shalt carry from me to thy people. 
Wilt thou bear it?" 

"Bear it thyself. Rajah, to the people with whom 
thou hast lived in honor and friendship." 

"In deceit and treachery I" Nehal Singh retorted, 
frowning. "But enough of that. Wilt thou bear my 
message?" 

"If it must be — yes." 

"It must be. Tell them first that every bond that 
linked us is broken. Tell them not to count on what 
has been. What has been is not forgotten, but it is 
written on my heart in fire and blood — it has crossed 
out love and respect, pity and mercy." 

"Rajah—" 

"Hear me to the end. Englishman! I am not here 
to waste words with thee — henceforward my acts shall 
be my words. But thou shalt not go back and say 
that it is ambition or a mean revenge which has drawn 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



344 THE NATIVE BORN 

my sword from its sheath. It is not that." He paascd, 
and the hand which he had raised to cut short Nich- 
olson's interruption sank slowly back upon his sword- 
hilt. Then he went on, and his low-pitched voice 
penetrated into the farthest comer of the silent temple: 
"Sahib, I loved thy people. I loved them for their 
past, for their courage, their justice, their greatness. 
In my boy's mind they were the heroes of the world, 
and as such I worshiped them. No poison a)uld kill 
my love — it seemed a part of me, the innermost part 
of my soul — and when for the first time I stood before 
them, face to face, it was as though I lived, as though 
I had awakened from a dream. Be patient. Englishman, 
for you of all others must understand that there is for 
me no turning back, no yielding. Great love is sister 
to a greater hate, respect to scorn, I came among 
you, inexperienced save in dreams, a believing boy — 
fool if you will, whose folly received its punishment. 
The outside of the platter was fair enough to have de- 
ceived those wiser than I, Sahib. There were lovely 
women with the faces of angels, and tall men, honest- 
eyed and brave-tongued. But the outside was a lie — 
a lie I" He lifted his hand again in a sudden storm 
of tortured passion. "The women are wantons — the 
men tricksters — " 

"Rajah!" The stem warning passed, but not un- 
heeded. 

"Thou art hurt and stung," Nehal said, in a low, 
shaken voice. "The truth wounds thee! For me — 
it was death." He hesitated again, fighting for his 
self-control. "Sahib, great things are expected of a 
great people. Others may cheat and swindle, others 
may lie and blaspheme with God's holy secrets, others 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



IN THE TEMPLE OF VISHNU 34S 

may seek their pleasures in the earth's mire, but they 
must stand apart. They must bear forward the banner 
of righteousness, or their greatness is no more than 
an empty sound — a bubble which the first bold enemy 
may prick. Perchance I blinded myself wilfully, per- 
chance I stopped my ears. The platter was fair to 
my eyes, the falsehood rang like truth. Now I know. 
I know that the past is all that is left you — you are a 
fair seeming behind which is decay and corrup- 
tion. Were I another, I would take my broken faith 
to the darkest corner of the jungle and eat out my life 
in despair and sorrow. But I have another task be- 
fore me — my duty to my people." 

"And that duty. Rajah—?" 

"A great people must rule mine," was the high an- 
swer. "I thought you a great people, and I used my 
strength, my wealth and influence to further your 
power. But you are not worthy. Who are you that 
dare to assume authority over millions — you who can 
not rule yourselves, you who idle away your lives in 
folly and self-seeking? Well may you crown your- 
selves with the laurels which your fathers won! You 
have none of your own — and sec to it that those faded 
emblems from a high past are not snatched from your 
palsied fingers. I at least have flung from mc a yoke 
which I despise. Parasites shall not feast upon my 
country I" 

A low murmur arose from the serried ranks and 
grew and deepened as Nicholson retorted passion- 
ately : \ 

"Thou canst not measure thyself against an Em- 
pire !" 

"Empire against Empire !" 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



346 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Marut is no Empire !" 

"All India shall answer me!"- 

At another moment Nicholson might have smiled at 
so vain a boast, but it did not seem to him vain as he 
faced that towering figure. There was destiny written 
in the blazing eyes. So might a prophet have called 
upon his nation — so might a nation, inspired by an 
absolute belief, have answered him as this swaying 
crowd answered — with wild, triumphant shouts. 

"We follow thee. Anointed One I Lead us, for thou 
art Vishnu, thou art God!" 

"Thou hearest!" Nehal Singh said, turning to Nich- 
olson. 

"I hear," the Englishman answered significantly. 
"And I know, as thou knowest, that it is a lie. Thou 
art not God. Thou art a Oiristian." 

"No longer. How shall I believe in a God whose 
disciples mock His commandments?" His voiw be- 
came inaudible in the suddenly increased confusion. 

The next instant, the torch-bearers, who guarded 
the open space around the two men, were thrust vio- 
lently on one side, and with a wild scream, which rang 
high above the uproar, a half-naked figure rushed up 
the steps and with outspread arms stood like an evil 
phantom at Nehat's side. 

"He is dead!" he shrieked. "He is dead! I killed 
him — my knife it was that killed him — the son of the 
Devil Stafford is dead — my enemy is dead !" He 
swung around toward the light, his arms still raised 
and Nicholson recognized, with a start of repulsion, 
Behar Singh's triumphant, distorted features. "Kill !" 
he shrieked again. "Kill them all, son — son— of — the 
— so is my revenge — " The harsh, grating voice 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



IN THE TEMPLE OF VISHNU 347 

cracked like a steel blade that has been snapped io 
half. For a breathing space Behar Singh stood there, 
drawn to his full height; then he reeled and rolled 
with a heavy thud to the lowest step, where he lay mo- 
tionless, his grinning face frozen into a look of diabol- 
ical joy, A slow oozing stream of blood crept over the 
white marble to Nicholson's feet. The voices died into 
silence. Nicholson and Nehal Sin^i faced each other 
over the dead body. 

"Thou seest," Nehal Sin^ said. "There is no turning 
back." 

"No, there is no turning back." The En^ishman 
drew himself upright. The light of unchangeable res- 
olution illuminated his face and made him, unarmed 
and dressed in the rigid simplicity of his uniform, a 
fine and impressive cxintrast to the brilliant bearing of 
his opponent. "Not that" — pointing to Behar Singh 
and speaking in dear, energetic English — ^"not that has 
made retreat impossible. It was already impossible 
before. Nehal Singh, I came here to plead with you. 
I respected you and pitied you too much to allow you 
to bring disaster upon yourself without an effort to 
save you. You say you came among us inexperienced 
save in dreams. It is true. Only a dreamer could have 
hoped to find perfection. We are a great people. Ra- 
jah ; we have always been great, and we shall always 
be. 

"And if there be corruption among us, it shall be 
weeded out. In times of peace, vice and folly grow 
fast Scoundrels, idlers, boasters and fools grow side 
by side with prosperity; they are the weeds which 
spring up on an over-cultivated soil. But war is the 
uprooting time of corruption, it is the harvest-time of 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



348 THE NATIVE BORN 

what is best and noblest in a. people. And that time 
has come. You, like your father, have learned to de- 
spise and hate us. Perhaps you are right. You have 
mingled with the scum which rises to the surface of 
still waters. The scum shall be cleared away, and if it 
costs us the lives of our greatest, it will not be at too 
high a price. We as well as you need the bitter lesson 
which only disaster can teach us. We shall see our 
weakness face to face, we shall root out our weeds 
and start afresh. You and the whole world shall see 
that the soil is still rich with honor." 

A change so rapid that it was scarcely noticeable 
passed over the Hindu's face. It would have been a 
flash of hope but for the contradiction of the sa>m- 
fully curved lips. 

"My belief is dead, Sahib." 

"It must live again." 

"Would to God that were possible!" Suddenly he 
leaned forward and spoke hurriedly and in English. 
"Captain Nicholson, there shall be no treachery. This 
is not a mutiny as in the past — it is war. And war 
is between men. See that — your women are brot^ht 
into safety. I give you till midnight." 

"They can not go alone." 

Nehal Singh laughed sneeringly. 

"It is not your lives that I seek. Go with your 
women. No harm shall be done you. Make good your 
escape, for I swear that after midnight I shall lead my 
people against their enemies, and he who falls into 
their hands need not hope for mercy." 

"And I also swear an oath. Rajah Nehal Sin^I 
Not one of us will leave Marut. The men will remain 
at their posts, and the women will stand by them." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



IN THE TEMPLE OF VISHNU 349 

"You are throwing away your lives." 

"They will not be thrown away. They will prove at 
least that I have not boasted." 

For an instant the two men watched each other in 
momentous silence, as two wrestlers each seeking to 
measure the other's strength. Then Nehal Singh 
raised his hand tu dismissal. 

"It is well, Englishman. If you have not indeed 
boasted, we shall meet again." 

"We shall meet again. Rajah Sahib." 

Nicholson swung round on his heel. The crowd be- 
hind him fell back, and with a rapid step, neither 
glancing to the right nor left, he strode out of the 
temple into the fading sunshine. His horse was still 
held in waiting, and he mounted instantly. Erect in 
his saddle, he faced the frowning multitude, then rode 
forward, as he had come, without haste, holding their 
passions in check by his own high, fearless bearing. 

The highroad was empty as he passed through the 
gates. The enemy lay behind. He set spurs to his 
horse and galloped headlong toward Marut. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gk' 



CHAPTER VIII 

FACE TO FACE 

MRS. CARMICHAEL turned up the li^t wifli a 
steady hand. Her gaunt, harsh features were ex- 
pressionless. 

"Well, what news, Captain Nicholson?" she said. 
"You can say it outright I am not afraid." She 
turned as she spoke and looked around her. "Are 
your nerves strong enough, Mrs. Berry? If not, 
pull yourself together. We can only die once, and 
there's nothing to whimper about." 

Mrs. Berry, who sat cowering in the comer of 
the sofa, lifted her grey face. The clumsy lips tried 
to move, but no sound came forth except an inar- 
ticulate murmur. Mrs. Carmichael shru^«d her 
shoulders as one does at an irresponsible child. 
"Well?" she repeated. 

Nicholson came farther into the room, so that 
he stood within the circle of lamp-light. In a rapid 
glance he had taken in the occupants, and their at- 
titudes were to him what symptoms are to a quick- 
sighted doctor. Mrs. Cary sat in an arm-chair, bolt 
upright, her hands clasped before her, her small 
eyes fixed straight ahead. Beatrice stood at her 
side, almost in an attitude of protection, pale, but 
otherwise calm and apparently indifferent. As he 
had entered, Lois had been preparing some food at 
350 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gk' 



FACE TO FACE 351 

a side table. She now came closer, and her dark, 
serious eyes rested penetratingly on his face, so 
that he felt that, even if he had thought of deceiving 
them as to the true state of affairs, it would have 
been in vain as far as she was concerned. As for 
Mrs. Carmichael, she stood in her favorite posi- 
tion — her arms akimbo, her chin tilted at an angle 
which lent her whole expression something bull- 
dog and defiant. The atmosphere of danger with 
which the little drawing-room was filled acted dif- 
ferently upon each temperament, but upon this 
typical soldier's wife the effect was to arouse in her 
all the primitive passions, the fighting instinct, the 
love of struggle against heavy odds. 

"Gomel" she exclaimed, as Nicholson still re- 
mained silent. "Do you think, because one or two 
of us are a bit 'nervy', that we are really afraid? 
Not in the least. For my part, if I've got to die, I 
shall take good care that one or two of those black 
heathen come with me !" She flung open a drawer, 
and, taking out a revolver, thumped it energetically 
upon the table. "Now then. Captain I" 

"My dear lady, I never doubted your courage," 
Nicholson answered, "and my news is not so hope- 
less as you suppose. I spoke with Nehal Singh." 
He saw Beatrice start and glance in his direction 
with an expression of sudden suspense in her fine 
eyes. "What he said left me no option. There 
could be no idea of coming to terms. At the same 
time it seems that he has no desire for a general 
massacre. His sole ambition is to drive us out of 
the country. He has given us till midnight to es- 
cape — those who want to," 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



353 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Does he thuik we are going to be got rid of as 
easily as that?" Mrs. Camiichael broke in. "Do 
you think that I have forgotten those months when 
George was fighting around Marut? Do you think 
I have forgotten all the fine fellows that laid down 
their lives to take the place and put an end to the 
disgrace of being held at bay by a horde of heathen? 
And now we are to run away like sheep ? Not if 
George listens to me!" 

"You need have no fear," Nicholson answered. 
"Not a man of us is going to leave Marut alive. But 
you ladies — " 

"Well, what about ns 'ladies'?" in a tone as 
though the description had been an insult. 

"I have just told you — Nehal Singh gives you 
till midnight to get away." 

Mrs. Carmichael snapped her lips together in a 
straight, uncompromising line. 

"Very much obliged to His Highness, I'm sure, 
but I stay with the regiment," she said. 

Nicholson could not repress a smile at this de- 
scription of her husband, but there was something 
more than amusement in his brightening eyes. 

'Thank you, Mrs. Carmichael, I knew that would 
be your answer. But it is my duty to ask the others 
— to give them their choice. There is little hope lor 
those who remain." He could not bring himself 
to turn to the cowering figure upon the sofa. There 
is a shame which is not personal, and he was pas- 
sionately ashamed for that quivering bulk of fear, 
for that greedy hope which he felt rather than saw 
creep up into the livid face. He looked at Lois. 
Her head was lifted and the fiery enthusiasm which 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FACE TO FACE 353 

spoke out of every line of the small dark face trans- 
formed her from a saddened woman back to the girl 
who never played a losing game but she won it, 
point by point, by pluck and daring. 

"If I shan't be a bother, I wish to stay with you 
all," she said with studied simplicity. But her tone 
was eloquent. 

"A brave comrade is always welcome," he an- 
swered. "Your husband — " He hesitated, and then 
concluded in a low voice : "Your husband offered 
to go with you. He is waiting outside with the 
horses." He avoided her eyes, but her tone be- 
trayed to him the pain that he had unwillingly 
caused her. 

"Please tell Archie that I will not let him sacri- 
fice himself for me. I know that he will wish to 
remain, and I, too, wish to remain. We are all 
Enghsh, and who knows how little or how much 
we are all to blame for this disaster? We must 
share it together." 

Something like a sigh of relief passed Nicholson's 
compressed lips, but he said nothing. In duty 
bound, he dared not offer encouragement nor plead 
for the fulfilment of his hopes. With mixed feel- 
ings he turned to Beatrice. Possessed as he now 
was of all the details of her conduct, he could not 
but lay at her door the consequences of a frivolous 
and heartless action. But her pitiless self-denun- 
ciation at the meeting, her present quiet and dig- 
nity, subdued in hira all scorn and anger. Courage 
saluted courage as their eyes met. 

"And you. Miss Gary?" 

"Lois has already answered for me," she said. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



354 THE NATIVE BORN 

"If there was any justice in this world, I ^one 
should suffer; but one can never su£Fer alone, it 
seems. The least I can do is to stand by you all." 
Her tone revealed all the remorse and suffering of 
which human nature is capable. It stirred in him 
a sudden impulsive pity. He crossed the room 
with outstretched hand. 

"You are a brave woman." 

She smiled bitterly, but the color rushed to her 
cheeks. 

"Thank you. You have paid me the only com- 
pliment for which I care. But it is a small thing 
to take one's punishment without crying. After 
all, death isn't the worst." 

She saw him glance doubtfully at her mother, 
and she hent down to the frozen face, speaking now 
gently but distinctly, as though to a suffering in- 
valid whose ears had been dulled with pain. 

"Mother, what do you want to do? There is stil! 
time — and Captain Nicholson says there is no hope 
for those who remain. You must not be influenced 
by my choice." 

Mrs. Cary looked up into her daughter's face with 
a perplexed frown. She seemed scarcely to have 
heard what had been said to her, not even to have 
been aware that any escape was possible. She felt 
for Beatrice's band, and taking it in her own, 
stroked it with pathetic helplessness. 

"A bad mother!" she said absently. "Well, per- 
haps I was. Yes, no doubt — and you think so, too, 
though you never said anything. It was always 
position I wanted. Now it's all gone. What is it, dear? 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FACE TO FACE 355 

Why do you look at me like that? I haven't said what 
I oughtn't, have I?" 

"No, no. Only Captain Nicholson wants to know 
— will you stay or go? We could get some of the ser- 
vants to go with you. You will be safe then." 

Mrs. Gary shook her head. 

"Are you — what are you going to do?" 

A childish smile twisted the heavy face. 

"I'd like to stay with you, Beaty, We have al- 
ways stuck together, haven't we?" She lay back 
with her head against Beatrice's shoulder. "You 
always were so clever, Beaty — I'm sure it will be 
all right. You'll see your poor mother through." 
The eyelids sank ; she dropped into a drowse of com- 
plete mental and physical breakdown, and for a mo- 
ment no one spoke. Mrs. Carmichael had shifted 
from her defiant attitude, and her hard, set face ex- 
pressed a grim satisfaction not unmixed with pity. 

"Now, Mrs. Berry, what about you?" she said. 
"Captain Nicholson has wasted enough time with 
you women. You must make up your mind — if 
you've got one," she concluded, in a smothered 
undertone. 

Mrs. Berry drew herself up from her cowering posi- 
tion. Her teeth were still chattering with terror, 
but Nicholson saw that the crisis of panic was over. 
There was a curious look of obstinate resolve on 
the usually weak and silly face. 

"If all the men are remaining, I suppose my hus- 
band remains, too?" she asked. 

"Yes ; he is helping Colonel Carmichael with the 
defenses." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



356 THE NATIVE BORN 

Wonderful indeed are the voUe-faces of which a 
character is capable I Nicholson, to whom human 
nature was a book of revelations, watched with a 
sense almost of awe this mean, petty and brainless 
woman, who a moment before had been whimper- 
ing with fear, smooth out her skirts and arrange 
her hair as though death were not sitting at her el- 
bow. 

"I am sure," she said, in a sharp voice which still 
trembled, "I can do what Mrs. Cary can do. I shall 
stay — please tell Percy so, with my love. And I 
should like to see him if possible before the end." 

Nicholson bowed to her, and for the first time 
in their acquaintance the salute had a genuine sig- 
nificance. 

"I am proud to have such countrywomen I" he 
said, and then added in a low tone as he passed 
Lois : "The cathedral is nearly finished." 

She nodded. 

"It could not have been better finished," she said 
bravely. "And you see I was right — when there 
is a noble building in the midst of them, people grow 
ashamed of their mud-huts. They pull them down 
and begin their own cathedrals — even when it is 
too late." 

His eyes wandered instinctively toward the wonnao 
on the couch. 

"Yes, you were quite right." He went to the 
curtained doorway, where he found Mrs. Carmi- 
chael waiting for him, a quaint figure enough with 
her sleeves rolled back, her skirts tucked up above 
her ankles, the revolver stuck brigand-wise in her 
belt 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FACE TO FACE 357 

. "I'm comii^ with you," she said coolly. "I can 
shoot as straight as most of you, and a good deal 
better than George. I might be of some use," 

"You would be of use anywhere," he returned 
sincerely, "but, if I may say so, you will be of 
more use here. Your courage will help the others. 
As for us, we have fifty of my Gurkhas, and they 
will do all that can be done. I will let you know 
what is happening. At present you are safest here." 

She sighed. 

"Very well. And if any one is hurt, send him arotuid 
I have plenty of bandages." 

"Yes, of course." 

It was a merely formal offer and acceptance. Both 
knew that it would be scarcely worth while to ban- 
dage men already in their full health and strength 
marked out for death. Nicholson went out, closing 
the door after him, and once more an absolute stoic 
silence fell upon the little company. In moments 
of crisis, it is the strict adherence to the habits of 
a lifetime which keeps the mind clear and the nerve 
firm. Lois went on quietly preparing some sand- 
wiches, which in all probability would never bs 
eaten, and Mrs. Carmichael resigned martial occu- 
pation for the cutting-out of a baby's pinafore for 
an East-end child whom she had under her special 
patronage. But her mind was active and, stern, 
self-opinionated martinet that she was, she could not 
altogether crush the regrets that swarmed up in 
this last reckoning np of her life's activity. Better 
had her charity and interest been centered on the 
dirty little children whom she had indignantly tol- 
erated on her compound I Better for them all would 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



358 THE NATIVE BORN 

it have beeo had each one of them sought to win 
the love and respect of the subject race I Then, 
perhaps, they would not have been deserted in this 
last hour of peril. 

Mrs. Carmichael glanced at Beatrice Cary with a 
fresh pricking of conscience. What, after all, had she 
done to deserve the chief condemnation? She bad 
played with fire. Had they not all played with fire? 
She had looked upon a native as a toy fit to play with, 
to break and throw away. Did they not all, behind their 
seeming tolerance and Christian principles, hide an 
equal depreciation? Was she even as bad as some? 
How many men revealed to their syces their darkest 
moods, their lowest passions? How many women were 
to their ayahs subjects for contemptuous Bazaar gos- 
sip. They were all to blame, and this was the harvest, 
the punishment for the neglect of a heavy responsi- 
bility. The thought that she had been unjust was 
iron through Mrs. Carmichael's soul, for above all 
things she prided hersdf on her fairness. She pushed 
her work away and went over to Beatrice's side. 
Mrs. Gary's head still rested against the aching 
shoulder, and Mrs. Carmichael made a sign to let 
her improvize a cushion substitute. Beatrice shook her 
head. 

"No, th^nk you," she whispered, glancing down 
at the flushed, sleeping face. "We have done each 
other so little real service that I am glad to be able 
to do even this much, I don't suppose it will be for 
long. How quiet everything ist" 

Mrs. Carmichael looked at the clock on the writ- 
ing-table. 

"It is not yet midnight," she said. "Probably the 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FACE TO FACE 359 

Rajah is keeping his promise." Her expression re- 
laxed a little, "Don't tire yourself," she added 
bruslcly to Mrs. Berry, who had been fanning the un- 
conscious woman's face with an improvized paper fan. 
"I don't think she feels the heat" 

The missionary's wife continued her good work 
with redoubled energy. It was perhaps one of the 
few really unselfish things which she had ever done 
in the course of a pious but fundamentally selfish 
life, and it gave her pleasure and courage. The knowl- 
edge that some one was weaker than herself and 
needed her was new strength to her new-bom heroism, 

"It is so frightfully hot," she said half apologeti- 
cally. "Why isn't the punkah-man at work?" 

"The 'punkah-man' has bolted with the rest of 
them," Mrs. Carmichael answered. "I dare say I 
could work it, though I have never tried." 

"It is hardly worth while to begin now," Be* 
trice observed, and this simple acknowledgment that 
the end was at hand received no contradiction. 

Once again the silence was unbroken, save for 
the soft swish of the fan and Mrs. Gary's heavy, ir- 
regular breathing. Yet the five women who in the 
full swing of their life had been diametrically op- 
posed to one another were now united in a common 
sympathy. Death, far more than a leveler of class, 
is the melting-pot into which are thrown all antag- 
onisms, all violent discords of character. The one 
great fact overshadows everything, and the petty 
stumbling-blocks of daily life are forgotten. More 
than that still — it is the supreme moment in man's 
existence when the innermost treasures or unsus- 
pected bells are revealed beyond all denial. And in 



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i6o THE NATIVE BORN 

these five women, hidden in two cases at least be- 
neath a mass of meanness, selfishness and indiffer- 
ence, there lay an unusual power of self-sacrifice 
and pity. Death was drawing near to them all, and 
their one thought was bow to make his coming 
easier for the other. When the silence grew un- 
bearable, it was Mrs. Carmichael who had the cour- 
age to break it with a trivial criticism respecting 
the manner in which Lois was making the sand- 
wiches. 

"You should put the butter on before you cut 
them," she said tartly, "and as little as possible. 
I'm quite sure it has gone rancid, and then George 
won't touch them. He is so fussy about the butter." 

Mrs. Berry looked up. The perspiration of physi- 
cal fear stood on her cold forehead, but her roused 
will-power fought heroically and conquered. 

"And, please, would you mind making one or 
two without butter?" she said. "Percy says all In- 
dian butter is bad. Of course, it's only an idea of 
his, but men are such faddy creatures, don't you 
think?" 

"They wouldn't be men if they weren't — " Mrs. 
Carmichael had begun, when she broke off, and the 
scissors that had been snipping their way steadily 
through the rough linen jagged and dropped on the 
table. She picked them up immediately and went 
on with an impatient exclamation at her own care- 
lessness. But the involuntary start had coincided 
with a loud report from outside in the darkness, 
and a smothered scream. 

Lois put down her knife. 

"Won't you come and help me?" she said to Bea- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



FACE TO FACE 361 

trice. "Your mother will not notice that you have 
gone." 

Beatrice nodded, and letting the heavy head sink 
back among the cushions, came over to Lois' side. 

"How brave you are!" she said in a whisper. 
"You seem so cool and collected, just as though 
you believed your sandwiches would ever be eaten V 

"I am not braver than you are. Look how steady 
your hand is — much steadier than mine." 

Beatrice held out her white hand and studied it 
thoughtfully. 

"I am not afraid," she said, "but not because I 
am brave. There is no room for fear, that is all." 
She paused an instant, and then suddenly the hand 
fell on Lots'. The two women looked at each other. 
"Lois, I am so sorry," 

"For me?" 

"For you and every one. I have hurt so many. 
It has all been my fault. I would give ten lives if 
I had them to see the harm undone. But that isn't 
possible. Oh, Lois, there is surely nothing worse 
than helpless remorse !" 

The hand within her own tightened in its clasp. 

"Is it ever helpless, though?" 

"I can't give the dead life — I can't give back a 
man's faith, can I?" 

The light of understanding deepened in Lois' 
eyes. 

"Beatrice — I believe I knowl" 

"Yes, I see you do. Do you despise me? What 
does it matter if you do? It has been my fear of 
the world and its opinion that helped to lead me 
wrong. Isn't it a just punishment? I have ruined 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



363 THE NATIVE BORN 

both our lives. Lois, I couldn't help hearing what 
Captain Nicholson said to you. It explained what 
you said to me about building on the ruins of the 
past. That was what he did — he built a beautiful 
palace on me — and I wrecked it. I failed him." 

"Have you really failed him?" 

"Lois, I don't know — I am beginning to believe 
not. But it is too late. I meant to clear away the 
rubbish — and build. But there is no time." 

"You have done your best.'* 

"Oh, if I could only save him, L^isl He was 
the first man I had ever met whom I trusted, the 
first to trust me. I owe him everything, the little 
that is good in me. It had to come to life when he 
believed in tt so implicitly. And he owes me ruin, 
outward and inward ruin." 

Lois made no answer. With a warm, impulsive 
gesture she put her arms about the taller woman's 
neck and, drawing the beautiful face down to her 
own, kissed her. Beatrice responded, and thus a 
friendship was sealed — not for life but for death, 
whose grim cordon was with every moment being 
drawn closer about them. 

The sound of firing had now grown incessant 
One report followed another at swift, irregular in- 
tervals, and each sounded like a clap of thunder in 
the silent room. Mrs. Cary stirred uneasily in her 
sleep, a low, scarcely audible groan escaped the 
parted lips, as though even in her dreams she was 
being pursued by fear's pitiless phantom. Her self- 
appointed nurse continued to fan her with the en- 
ergy of despair, the poor livid face twitching at 
every fresh threatening sound. Mrs. Carmichael 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FACE TO FACE 363 

still pretended to be absorbed in her pinafore, but 
the revolver lay on the table, ready to hand, and 
there was a look in the steady eyes which boded ill 
for the first enemy who should confront her. Lois 
and Beatrice continued their fruitless task. 

A woman's courage is the supreme victory of mind 
over matter. It is no easy thing for a hero to sit 
still and helpless while death rattles his bullet fin- 
gers against the walls and screams in voices of hate 
and fury from a distance which every minute dimin- 
ishes. For a woman burdened with the disability of a 
high-strung nervous system, it is a martyrdom. Yet 
these women, brought up on the froth of an ener- 
vating, pleasure-seeking society, held out — held out 
with a martyr's courage and constancy — against the 
torture of inactivity, of an imagination which pene- 
trated the sheltering walls out into the night where 
fifty men writhed in a death-struggle with hundreds 
— saw every bleeding wound, heard every smoth- 
ered moan of pain, felt already the cold iron pierce 
their own breasts. The hours passed, and they did 
not yield. They had ceased from their incongru- 
ous tasks, and stood and waited, wordless and tear- 
less. 

As the first grey lights of dawn crept into the 
stifling room they heard footsteps hurrying across 
the adjacent room, and each drew herself upright 
to meet the end. Mrs. Carmichael's hand tightened 
over the revolver, but it was only Mr. Berry who 
entered. The little missionary, a shy, society-shun- 
ning man, noted for doing more harm than good 
among the natives by his zealous bigotry and ig- 
norance of their prejudices, stood revealed in a new 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



364 THE NATIVE BORN 

light. His face was grimed with dirt and powder, 
his clothes disordered, his weak eyes bright with 
the fire of battle. 

"Do not be afraid," he said quickly. "There is 
no immediate danger. I have only been sent to 
warn you to be ready to leave the bungalow. The 
front wall is shot-riddled, and the place may be- 
come indefensible at any moment. When that time 
comes, you must slip out to the old bungalow. Nich- 
olson believes he can hold out there." 

"My husband — ?" interrupted Mrs. Carmichael. 

"Your husband is safe. In fact, all three were 
well when I left. If I wasn't against such things, 
I should say it was a splendid fight — and every 
man a hero. The Rajah — " 

"The Rajah—?" 

Mr. Berry looked in stem surprise at the pale 
face of the speaker. 

"The Rajah has a charmed life," he said somber- 
ly. "He is always in the front of his men — we can 
recc^ize him by his dress and figure — he is always 
within range, but we can't hit him. Not that I 
ought to wish his death, though it's our only 
chance." He put his hands distractedly to his head. 
"Heaven knows, it's too hard for a Christian man! 
Every time I see an enemy fall, I rejoice — and then 
I remember that it is my brother — " He stopped, 
the expression on his face of profound trouble giv- 
ing way to active alarm. "Hush ! Some one is com- 
ing !" 

A second time the door opened, and Travers 
rushed in. Lois saw his face, and something in her 
recoiled in sick disgust. Fear, an almost imbecilic 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FACE TO FACE 365 

fear, was written on the wide-open, staring eyes, 
and the hand that held the revolver trembled like that 
of an old man. 

"Quick — out by the back wayl" he stammered 
incoherently. "I will lock the door — so. That will 
keep them off a minute. They are bound to look 
for us here first. Nicholson is retiring with his 
men — they are going to have a try to bring down 
the Rajah. It's our one chance. It may frighten 
the devils — they think he's a god. I believe he is, 
curse him!" All the time, he had been piling fur- 
niture against the door with a mad and feverish 
energy. "Help me ! Help me !" he screamed. "Why 
don't you help? Do you want to be killed like 
sheep ?" 

Lois drew him back by the arm. 

"You are wasting time," she said firmly. "Come 
with us ! Why, you are hurt t" 

He looked at the thin stream which trickled down the 
soiled white of his coat. A silly smile flickered over 
his big face. 

"Oh, yes, a scratch. I hardly feel it. It isn't 
anything. It can't be anything. There's nothing 
vital thereabouts, is there. Berry?" 

The missionary shrugged his shoulders. He had 
flung open the glass doors which led on to the veran- 
dah, and the brightening dawn flooded in upon 
them. 

"Come and help me carry this poor lady," he 
said. "We have not a minute to lose." 

Travers tried to obey, but he had no strength, 
and the other thrust him impatiently on one side. 

"Mrs. Carmichael, you are a strong woman," he 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



366 THE NATIVE BORN 

appealed. Between tbem they managed to bring 
Mrs. Gary's heavy, unconscious frame down the 
steps. It was a nerve-trying task, for their progress 
was of necessity a slow one, and the sound of the 
desperate fighting seemed to surround them on 
every side. It was with a feeling of intense relief 
that the little party saw Nicholson appear from 
amidst the trees and run toward them. 

"Thafs right!" he cried. "Only be quick I They 
are at us on all sides now, but my men are keeping 
them off until you are out of the bungalow. The 
old ruin at the back of the garden is our last stand. 
Carmichael is there already with a detachment, and 
is keeping off a rear attack. I shall remain here." 

"Alone?" Berry asked anxiously. 

"Yes. I believe they will ransack the bungalow 
first. When they come, the Rajah is sure to be at 
their head, and — well, it's going to be diamond cut 
diamond between us two when we meet. I know 
the beggars and their superstition. If I get in the 
first shot, they will bolt. If he does — " 

"You are going to shoot him down like a rat in 
a trap !" Beatrice burst out passionately. 

The others had already hurried on. With a gentle 
force he urged her to follow them. 

"Or be shot down myself," he said. "Leave me 
to do my duty as I think best." 

She met his grave eyes defiantly, but perhaps 
some instinct told her that he was risking his life 
for a poor chance — for their last chance, for with- 
out a word she turned away, apparently in the di- 
rection which her companions had already taken. 

As soon as she was out of sight, Nicholson re- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FACE TO FACE 367 

charged his smoking revolver, and stood there quiet- 
ly waiting. His trained ear heard the firing in front 
of the bungalow cease. He knew then that his men 
were retiring to join Colonel Carmichael, and that 
he stood alone, the last barrier between death and 
those he loved. The sound of triumphant shout- 
ing drew nearer ; he heard the wrenching and tear- 
ing of doors crashing down before an impetuous 
onslaught, the cling of steel, a howl of sudden sat- 
isfaction. His hand tightened upon his revolver; 
he stood ready to meet his enemy single-handed, 
to tight out the duel between man and man. But 
no one came. A bewildering silence had followed - 
upon the last bloodthirsty cry. It was as though 
the hand of death had fallen and with one anni- 
hilating blow beaten down the approaching horde 
in the high tide of their victory. But of the two 
this strange stillness was the more terrible. It pen- 
etrated to the little waiting group in the old bun- 
galow and filled them with the chill horror of the 
unknown. Something had happened — that they 
felt. 

Lois crept to the doorway and peered out into 
the gathering daylight. Here and there, half hid- 
den behind the shelter of the trees, she could see 
the khaki-clad figures of the Gurkhas, some kneel- 
ing, some standing, their rifles raised to their dark 
faces, waiting like statues for the enemy that never 
came. A dead, petrified world, the only living thing 
the sunshine, which played in peaceful indifference 
upon the scene of an old and a new tragedy! Lois 
thought of her mother. By the power of an over- 
wrought imagination she looked back through a 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



368 THE NATIVE BORN 

quarter of a centuiy to a day of which this present 
was a strange and horrible repetition. For a mo- 
ment she lived her mother's life, lived through the 
hours of torturing doubt and fear, and when a 
stifled cry called her back to the reality and forced 
her to turn from the sunlight to the dark room, it 
was as though the dead had risen, as though her 
dreams had taken substance. She saw pale faces 
staring at her ; she saw on the rusty truckle-bed a 
figure which rose up and held out frantic, desperate 
arms toward her. But it was no dream — no phan- 
tom. Mrs, Cary, wild-eyed and distraught, strug- 
gled to rise to her feet and come toward her. 

"Where is Beatrice?" she cried hysterically. 
"Where is Beatrice ? I dreamed she was dead I — It 
isn't true ! Say it isn't true 1" 

Lois hurried back. In the confusion of their re- 
treat she had lost sight of Beatrice, and now a cold 
fear froze her blood. She called her name, adding 
her voice to the half-delirious mother's appeal ; but 
there was no answer, and as she prepared to leave 
the shelter of the bungalow to go in search of the 
lost girl, a pair of strong hands grasped her by the 
shoulders and forced her back. 

"Lois, stand back! They are coming!" 

Colonel Carmiachael thrust her behind him, and 
an instant later she heard the report of his revol- 
ver. There was no answering volley, A dark, scan- 
tily-clad figure sprang through the trees, waving 
one hand as though in imperative appeal. 

"Don't fire — don't fire ! It's me !" 

The Colonel's still smoking revolver sank, and 
the supposed native swayed toward him, only to 

C,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



FACE TO FACE 369 

sink a few yards farther on to the ground. Car- 
michael ran to his side and lifted the fainting head 
against his shoulder. 

"Good God, GeofiEries! Don't say I've hit you! 
How on earth was I to know)" 

"That's all right. Colonel. Only winded — don't 
you know — never hurried so much in life. Have 
been in the midst of the beggars — ^just managed to 
slip through. O Lor', give me something to drink, 
will you?" Colonel Carmichael put his flask to the 
parched and broken lips. "Thanks, that's better. 
We got your message, and are coming on like fun. 
The regiment's only an hour off. You never saw 
Saunders in such a fluster — it's his first big job, you 
know." He took another deep draft, and wiped 
his mouth with the corner of his ragged tunic. "I 
say — don't look at me, Miss Lois. I'm not fit to be 
seen." He laughed hoarsely. "These clothes 
weren't made in Bond Street, and Webb assured 
me that the fewer I had the more genuine I looked. 
I say, Colonel, this is a lively business I" 

Colonel Carmichael nodded as he helped the 
gasping and exhausted man into the bungalow. 

"Too lively to be talked about," he said. "I doubt 
if the regiment isn't going to add itself to the gen- 
eral disaster." 

"Oh, rot !" was the young officer's forgetful lapse 
into disrespect. "The regiment will do lor the beg- 
gars all right. They didn't expect us so soon, I fan- 
cy- Just listen) I believe I've frightened them 
away already. There isn't a sound." 

Colonel Carmichael lifted his head. True enough, 
no living thing seemed to move. A profound hush 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



370 THE NATIVE BORN 

hun^ in the air, broken only by Mrs. Gary's pitiful 
moanings. 

"Oh, Beatrice, Beatrice, where are you?" 

Geoffries turned his stained face to the Colonel's. 

"Beatrice! That's Miss Gary, isn't it? Anything 
happened to her?" 

Colonel Carmichael shrugged his shoulders with the 
impatience of a man whose nerves are overstrained by 
anxiety. 

"I don't know — we've lost her," he said. "We must 
do something at once. Heaven alone knows what has 
happened." 

No one indeed knew what had happened — not ercn 
the lonely man who waited, revolver in hand, for the 
final encounter on whose issue hung the fortunes of 
them all. 

Only one knew, and that was Beatrice herself as she 
stood before the shattered doorway of the Colonel's 
drawing-room, amidst the debris of wrecked, shot-rid- 
dled furniture, face to face vnth Nehal Singh. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER IX 



ONCE before she had placed herself in his path, 
trusting to her skill, her daring, above all, her beauty. 
With laughter in her heart and cold-blooded coquetry 
she had chosen out the spot before the altar where the 
sunlight struck burnished gold from her waving hair 
and lent deeper, softening shades to her eyes. With 
cruel satisfaction, not unmixed with admiration, she 
had seen her power successful and the awe-struck 
wonder and veneration creep into his face. In the si- 
lence and peace of the temple she had plunged reck- 
less hands into the woven threads of his life. Amidst 
the shriek of war, face to face with death, she sought 
to save him. It was another woman who stood op- 
posite the yielding, cracking door, past whose head a 
half-spent bullet spat its way, burying itself in the 
wall behind her, — another woman, disheveled, for- 
getful of her wan beauty, trusting to no power but 
that which her heart gave her to face the man she 
had betrayed and ruined. Yet both in an instantaneous 
flash remembered that first meeting. The drawn 
sword sank, point downward. He stood motionless 
in the shattered doorway, holding out a hand which 
commanded, and obtained, a petrified, waiting silence 
from the armed horde whose faces glared hatred and 
the lust of slaughter in the narrow space behind. 
371 



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373 THp NATIVE BORN 

Wlntever bad been bis resohition, whatever the de- 
testation and contempt which had filled him, all sank 
now into an ocean of reborn pain. 

"Why are you here?" be asked sternly. "Why have 
you not fled?" 

"We are all here," she answered. "None of us has 
fled. Did you not know that?" 

He looked about him. A flash of soom rddndled 
in his somber eyes. 

"You are alone. Have they deserted you?" 

"They do not know that I am here. I crept bade of 
n^ own free will — to speak with you, Nehal." 

Both hands clasped upon his sword-hilt, erect, a 
proud figure of misfortune, he stood there and studied 
her, half-wonderingly, half-contemptuously. The rest* 
less forces at his back were forgotten. They were no 
more to him than the pawns with which his will played 
life and death. He was their god and their faith. 
They waited for his word to sweep out of hts path 
the white-faced Englishwoman who held him checked 
in the full course of his victory. But he did not speak 
to them, but to her, in a low voice in which scorn 
still trembled. 

"You are here, no doubt, to intercede for those 
others— or for yourself. Yoo see, I have learned some- 
thing in these two years. It is useless. No one can 
stop me now," 

"No one?" 

He smiled, and for the first time she saw a sneer 
disf^re his lips. 

"Not even you. Miss Cary. You have done s great 
deal with me — enough perhaps to justify your wildest 
hopes — but you have touched the limits of your powers 



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HALF-LIGHT 373 

and of my gullibility. Or did you think there were no 
limits ?" 

"I do not recognize you when you talk like that I" 
she exclaimed. 

"That is surprising, seeing that you have made me 
what I am," he answered. Then he made a quick 
gesture of apology. "Forgive me, that sounded like 
a reproach or a complaint. I make neither. That is 
not my purpose," 

"And yet you have the right," she said, drawing a 
deep breath, "you have every right, Nehal. It does not 
matter what the others did to you. I know that does 
not count an atom in com^Ktrison to my responsibilities. 
You trusted me as you trusted no one else, and I de- 
ceived you. So you have the right to hate me as you 
hate no one else. And yet — is it not something, does 
it not mitigate my fault a little, that I deceived myself 
far, far more than I ever deceived you ?" He raised his 
eyebrows. There was mockery in the movement, and 
she went on, desperately resolute: "I played at loving 
you, Nehal. I played a comedy with you for my own 
purposes. And one day it ceased to be a comedy. I 
did not know it. I did not know what was driving 
me to tell the truth, and reveal myself to you in the 
ugliest light I could. I only knew it was something 
in me stronger than any other impulse of my life. I 
knoW'what it is now, and you must know, too. Can't 
you understand? If it had been no more than a com- 
edy, you must have found me out — months ago. But 
you never found me out. It was / who told you what 
I had done and who I was — " 

"Why did you tell me?" He took an involuntary 
step toward her. Something in his face relaxed be- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



374 THE NATIVE BORN 

neath the force of an uncontrollable emotion. He was 
asking a question which had hammered at the gates of 
his mind day after day and in every waking hour. 
"Why?" he repeated. 

"I have told you — because I had to. I had to speak 
the truth. I couldn't build up my new life on an old 
lie. You had to know. I had won your love by a 
trick. I had to show you the lowest and worst part 
of myself before the best in me could grow — the best 
in me, which is yours." 

"You are raving I" 

"I am not ravit^. You must see I am not Look 
at me. I am calmer than you, thou^ I face cer- 
tain death. I knew when I came here that the chances 
were I should be killed before I even saw you, but I 
had to risk that. I had to win your trust back some- 
how, honestly and fairly. I can not live without your 
trust." 

"Beatrice I" The name escaped him almost without 
his knowledge. He saw tears spring to her eyes. 

"It is true. Your love and your trust have become 
my life. Then I was unworthy of both. I tried to 
make myself worthy. I did what I could. I told you 
the truth — I threw away the only thing that mattered 
ito me. I could not hold your love any longer by a lie 
— I loved you too much !" 

For that moment the passionate energy of her 
words, the sincerity and eloquence of her glance, swept 
back every thought of suspicion. He stood stupefied, 
almost overwhelmed. Mechanically his lips formed 
themselves to a few broken sentences. 

"You can not know what you are saying. You are 
beside yourself. Once, in my ignorance, I believed 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



HALF-LIGHT 375 

it possible, but now I know that it could never be. 
Your race despises mine — " 

"I do not care what you are nor to whom you be- 
long t" she broke in, exulting. "You are the man who 
taught me to believe that there is somethii^ in this 
world that is good, that is worthy of veneration; who 
awoke in me what little good I have. I love you. 
If 1 could win you back — " 

"What then?" 

"I would follow you to the world's end!" 

"As my wife?" 

"As your wife!" 

He held out his arms toward her, impulse rising 
like the sun high and splendid above the mists of 
distrust. It was an instant's forgetfulness, which passed 
as rapidly as it had come. His arms sank heavily to 
his side. 

"Have you thought what that means? If you go 
with me, you must leave your people for ever." 

"I would follow you gladly." 

He shook his head. 

"You do not understand. You must leave them now 
— now when I go against them." 

"No !" she broke in roughly, "You can't, Nehal, you 
can't. You have the right to be bitter and angry ; you 
have not the right to commit a crime. And it would 
be a crime. You are plunging thousands into blood- 
shed and ruin — " He lifted his hand, and the expres- 
sion in his eyes checked her. 

"So it is, after all, a bargain that you offer met" 
he said. "You are trying to save them. You offer 
a high price, but I am not a merchant. I can not buy 
you, Beatrice." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



376 THE NATIVE BORN 

"It i> not a bargain I" For the first time she Al- 
tered, taken aback by the pitiless logic of his words. 
"Can't you see that? Can't you see that, however 
much I loved you, I could not act otherwise than im- 
plore you to turn back from a step that means de- 
struction for those bound to me by blood and country? 
Could I do less?" 

"No," he said slowly. 

She held out her hands to him. 

"Oh, Nehal, turn back while there is yet timet 
For my sake, for yours, for us all, turn bade from a 
bloody, cruel revenge. The power is yours. Be gen- 
erous. If we have wronged you, we have suffered and 
are ready to atone. / am ready to atone. I can atone, 
because I love you. I have spoken the truth to you. 
I have laid my soul bare to you as I have done to no 
other bang. Won't you trust me?" 

His eyes met hers with a somber, hcq>e1e98 signifi- 
cance which cut her to the heart. 

"I can't," he said. "I can't. That is what you 
have taught me — ^to distrust you — and every one," 

She stood silent now, paralyzed by the finality of 
his words and gesture. It was as though the shadow 
of her heartless folly had risen before her and becmnc 
an iron wall of unrelenting, measured retribution 
against which she beat herself in vain. He lifted his 
head higher, seeming to gather together his shaken 
powers of self<control. 

"I can not trust you," he said again, "nor can I turn 
back. But there is one thing from the past which 
can not be changed. I love you. It seems that must 
remain through all my life. And because of that love 
I must save you from the death that awaits your coun- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



HALF-UGHT 3:7 

trymen," He smiled in faint self-contempt "It is not 
for your sake that I shall save you; it is because I am 
too great a coward, and can not face the thought that 
anything so horrible should come near you." He 
turned to two native soldiers behind him and gave an 
order. When he faced Beatrice again he saw that 
she held a revolver in her hand. 

"You do not understand," she said. "You say you 
mean to save me, but that is not in your power. It is 
in your power to save us all, but not one alone. I 
know what my people have resolved to do. There are 
weak, frightened women among them, but not one of 
them will fall into your hands alive. Whatever hap- 
pens, I shall share their fate." 

Though her tone was quiet and free from all bra- 
vado, he knew that she was not boasting. He knew, 
too, that she was desperate. 

"You can not force me to kill you," he said sternly. 

"I think it possible," she answered. She was 
breathing quickly, and her eyes were bright with a 
reckless, feverish excitement. But the hand that held 
the revolver pointed at the men behind him was 
steady — steadier than his own. 

Ndial Singh motioned back the two natives who bad 
advanced at his order. 

"You play a dangerous game," he said, "and, as 
before, your strength lies in my weakness — in my folly. 
But this time you can not win. My word is given — to 
my people." 

"I shall not plead with you," she returned steadily, 
"and you may be sure I shall not waver. I am not 
afraid to die. I had hoped to atone for all the wrong 
that has been done you with my love for you, Nehal. 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



378 THE NATIVE BORN 

I had hoped that then you would turn away from this 
madness and become once more our friend. To tliis 
end I have not hesitated to trample on my dignity and 
pride. I have not spared myself. But you will not 
listen, you are determined to go on, and I" — she caught 
her breath sharply — "surely you can understand? 1 
love you, and you have made yourself the enemy of mj 
country. Death is the easiest, the kindest solution to 
it all." 

Nehal Stng^i's brows knitted themselves in the an- 
guish of a man who finds himself thwarted by his own 
nature. He tried not to believe her, and indeed, in all 
her words, though they had rung like music, his ear, 
tuned to suspicion, had heard the mocking undercur- 
rent of laughter. She had laughed at him secretly 
through all those months when he had offered up to 
her the incense of an absolute faith, an unshared <i^ 
votion. Even now she might be laughing at him, 
playing on that in him which nothing could destroy or 
conceal — his love- for her. And yet — I Behind him b« 
heard the uneasy stir of impatient feet, the hushed 
clash of arms. He stood between her and a certain, 
terrible death. One word from him, and it would be 
over — his path clear. But he could not speak that 
word. Treacherous and cruel as she had been, the 
halo of her first glory still hung about her. He saw 
her as he had first seen her — the golden image of pure 
womanhood — and, strange, unreasoning contradtcCioii 
of the human heart, beneath the ashes of his old faith 
a new fire had kindled and with every moment burned 
more brightly. Unquenchable trust fought out a deatii 
struggle with distrust, and in that conflict her words 
recurred to him with poignant significance: "Death a 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gk' 



HALF-LIGHT 379 

the easiest, the kindest solution to it sll." For him 
also there seemed no other escape. He pointed to the 
revolver. 

"For whom is that?" he asked. 

"I do not know — but I will make them kill me." 

"Why do you not shoot me, then?" he demanded, 
between despair and bitterness. "That would save you 
all. If I fell, they would turn and fly. They think I 
am Vishnu. Haven't you thought of that? I am in 
your power. Why don't you make yourself the bene- 
factress of your country? Why don't you shoot her 
enemy?" 

She made no answer, but her eyes met his steadily 
and calmly. He turned away, g;roaning. In vain he 
foi^ht against it, in vain stung himself to action by 
the memory of all that she had done to him. His 
love remained triumphant In that supreme moment 
his faith burst through the darkness, and again he be- 
lieved in her, believed in her against reason, against 
the world, against the ineffaceable past, and ag^nst 
himself. And it was too late. He no longer stood 
alone. His word was given. 

"Have pity on me !" he said, once more facing her. 
"Let me save you !" 

"I should despise myself, and you would despise 
me — even more than you do now. I can not do less 
^an share the fate of those whose lives my folly has 
jeopardized." 

"At least go back to them— do not stay here. Bea- 
trice, for God's sake t — I can not turn back. You have 
made me suffer enou^ — " He stood before her now 
as an incoherent pleader, and her heart burned with 
an exultation in which the thought of life and death 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



38o THE NATIVE BORN 

played no part. She knew that he sttli loved her. It 
seemed for the moment all that mattered. 

"I can not," she said. 

"Beatrice, do not deceive yourself. Though my Ufe 
is nothing to me— though I would give it a dozen times 
to save you — I can not do otherwise than go on. I may 
be weak, but I shall be stronger than my weakness. 
My word is given 1" 

He spoke with the tempestuous energy of despair. 
The minutes were passing with terrible swiftness, and 
any moment the sea behind him might burst its dam 
and sweep her and him to destruction. Already in 
the distance he heard the dull clamour of voices raised 
in angry remonstrance at the delay. Only those imme- 
diately about him were held in awed silence by the 
power of his personality. Again Beatrice shook her 
head. She stood in the doorway which opened out 
into the garden where the besieged had taken refuge. 
There was no other way. He advanced toward her. 
Instantly she raised her revcrfver and pointed it at the 
first man behind him, 

"If I fire," she said, "not even you will be able to 
hold them back." 

It seemed to her that she stood like a frail wall be- 
tween two overwhelming forces — on the one side, 
Nehal with his thousands; on the other, Nicholson — 
alone, truly, but armed with a set and pitiless resolve. 
A single sentence, which had fallen upon her ears 
months before, rose now out of an ocean of half- 
forgotten memories: "Nicholson is the best shot in 
India," some one had said: "he never misses." And 
still Nehal advanced. His jaws were locked, his eyes 
had a red fire in them. She knew then that the hour 



by Google 



HALF-LIGHT 381 

of hesitation was over, and that in that desperate strug- 
gle she had indeed lost. Uncontrollable words of 
warning rushed to her Hps. 

"Nehal — turn back! Turn back I" 

He did not understand her. He thought she was 
still pleading with him. 

"I can not — God have pity on us both I" 

Then she too set her lips. She could not betray the 
last hope of that heroic handful of men and women 
behind her. He must go to his death — and she to hers. 
She fired, — whether with success or not, she never 
knew. In that same instant another sound broke upon 
their ears — the sound of distant firing, the rattle of 
dnmis and the high clear call of a trumpet. Nehal 
Singh swung around. She caught a glimpse of his 
face through the smoke, and she saw something written 
there which she could not understand. She only 
knew that his features seemed to bear a new familiar- 
ity, as though a mask had been torn from them, reveal- 
ing the face of another man, of a man whom she had 
seen before, when and where she could not tell. She 
had no time to analyze her emotions nor the sense of 
violent shock which passed over her. She heard Nehal 
Singh giving sharp, rapid orders in Hindustani. The 
room emptied. She saw him follow the retreating 
natives. At the door he turned and looked back at 
her. At no time had his love for her revealed itself 
more clearly than in that last glance. 

"The English regiment has come to help you," he 
said. "Fate has intervened between us this time. May 
we never meet again !" 

He passed out through the shattered doorway, but 
she stood where he had left her, motionless, almost un- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



382 THE NATIVE BORN 

comdoas. It was tlnis Kicbolsoa and tbe Coknd 
foand ber when, a mooieiit later, tbey entered the 
room by tbe veraiKlab. Cotonel Carmjcliael's pas^UD- 
ate reproacbes dkd away as be saw ber face. 

"You must not stop here," be said. "Yoa haw 
frightened us all terribly. The regiment has oane 
and is attacking. There will be some desperate fight- 
ing. We must all stick together." 

She cau^ Nicbolsoo's eyes resting on her. She 
thought she read frity and sympathy in their steady 
depths, and wondered if be guessed what she had tried 
to do. But he said nothing, and she followed the two 
men blindly and indifferently back to the bungalow. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



THEY had no light They talked in whispers, 
and now and again, when the darkness grew too 
oppressive, they stretched out groping hands and 
touched each other. They did this without explana- 
ti(Hi. Though none complained or spdce of fear, , 
each needed the consolation of the other's com- 
pany, and a touch was worth more than words. 
Mrs. Gary alone needed nothing. She lay on the 
rough truckle-bed and slept. Thus she had been 
for a week — a whole week of nerve-wrecking strug- 
gle against odds which marked hope as vain. Bul- 
lets had beaten like rain upon the walls about her, 
the moaning of wounded men on the other side of 
the hastily constructed partition mingled unceas- 
ingly with the cries of the ever-nearing enemy. And 
she had lain there quiet and indifferent. Martins, 
the regiment's doctor, had looked in once at her 
and had shaken his head. "In all probability she 
will never wake," he had said. "Perhaps it is the 
kindest thing that could happen to her." And then 
he had gone bis way to those who needed him more. 

Mrs. Berry knelt by the bedside. Her bands were 

folded. She had been praying, but exhaustion had 

overcome her, and her quiet, peaceful breathing 

contrasted strangely with the other sounds that 

383 

D,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



384 THE NATIVE BORN 

filled the bungalow. Mrs. Carmichael and Beatrice 
sat huddled close together, listening. Tbey could 
do nothing — not even help the wounded men who 
lay so close to them. Everything was in pitch dark- 
ness, and no lights were allowed. They could not 
go out and help in the stern, relentless stru^le 
that was going on about them. They bore the 
woman's harder lot of waiting, inactive, powerless, 
Aghting the harder battle against uncertainty and 
all the horrors of the imagination. 

"I am sorry the regiment has come," Mrs. Car- 
michael whispered. "There is no doubt they will 
be massacred with the rest of us. What are a few 
hundreds against thousands? It is a pity. They 
are such tine fellows." 

Her rough, tired voice had a ring of unconquer- 
able pride in it. She was thinking of the gallant 
charge her husband's men had made only two weeks 
before; how they had broken through the wall of 
the enemy, and, cheering, had rushed to meet the 
besieged garrison. That had been a moment of rejoic- 
ing, transitory and deceptive. Then the wall closed in 
about them again, and they knew that they were 
trapped. 

"Perhaps we can hold out till help comes," Bea- 
trice said. 

She tried not to be indifferent. For the sake of 
her companions she would gladly have felt some 
desire for life, but in truth it had no value for her. 
She could thi^k of nothing but the evil she had 
done and of the atonement that had been denied 
her. It was to no purpose that she worked un- 
ceasingly for the wounded. The sense of respon- 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS 385 

sibility never left her. Each moan, each death-sigh 
brought the same meaning to her ear: "You have 
helped to do this — this is your work." 

"No help will come," Mrs. Carmlchael said, shak- 
ing her head at the darkness. "When a whole 
province rises as this has done, it takes months to 
organize a sufficient force, and we shan't last out 
many days. I wonder what people in England are 
saying. How well I can see them over their break- 
fast cups ! Oh, dear, I mustn't think of breakfast cups, 
or I shall lose my nerve." She laughed under her 
breath, and there was a long silence. 

Presently the door of the bungalow opened, let- 
ting in a stream of moonlight. It was closed in- 
stantly, and soft footfalls came over the boarded 
floor. 

"Who is it?" Mrs. Carmichael whispered. 

"I — Lois," was the answer. The new-comer crept 
down by Beatrice's side and leaned her head against 
the warm shoulder. "I am so tired," she said faint- 
ly. "I have been with Archibald. He has been 
moaning so. Mr. Berry says he is afraid mortifica- 
tion has set in. It is terrible." 

"Poor little woman 1" Beatrice put her arm about 
the slender figure and drew her closer. "Lay your 
head on my lap and sleep a little. You can do no 
good just now." 

'Thank you. I will, if you don't mind. You will 
wake me if anything happens, won't you?" 

"Yes, I promise." It gave Beatrice a sense of 
comfort to have Lois near her. Very gently she 
passed her hand over the aching forehead, and pres- 
ently Lois fell into a sleep of absolute exhaustion. 



3,q,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



386 THE NATIVE BORN 

By mutual consent, Mrs. Carmichael and Beatrice 
ceased to talk, but when suddenly there was a move- 
ment close to them, and a dim light flashed over 
the partition, they exchanged a glance of meaning. 

"That is my husband," Mrs. Carmichael whis- 
pered. "Something is going to happen. Listen I" 

She was not wrong in her supposition. The 
Colonel had entered the next room, followed by 
Nicholson and Saunders, and had closed the door 
carefully after him. All three men carried lanterns. 
They glanced instinctively at the wooden partition 
which divided them from the four women, but Car- 
michael shook his head. 

"It's all right," he said. "They must be fast 
asleep, poor souls. Let's have a look at these fel- 
lows." He went over to a huddled-up figure lying 
in the shadow. The corner of a military cloak had 
been thrown over the face. He drew it on one side 
and then let it drop. "Gonel" be said laconically. 
He passed on to the next. There were in all three 
men ranged against the wall. Two of them were 
dead. "Martins told me they couldn't last," Colonel 
Carmichael muttered. "It is better for them. They 
are out of it a little sooner, that's all." The third 
man was Travers. He lay on his back, his face 
turned slightly toward the wall, his eyes dosed. He 
seemed asleep. The Colonel nodded somberly. "An- 
other ten hours," he calculated. 

He came back to the table, where the others 
waited, and drew out a paper from his pocket. 

"Give me your light a moment, Nicholson," be 
said. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS 387 

No one spoke while he examined tlie list before 
htm. All around them was a curious hush — a new 
thing in their struggle, and one that seemed sur- 
charged with calamity. After a moment Colonel 
Carmichael looked up. He was many years the 
senior of his companions, but just then there seemed 
no difference in years between them. They were 
three wan, haggard men, weakened with hunger, 
exhausted with sleepless watching. That week had 
killed the youth in two of them. 

"Geoffries has just given me this," Carmichael 
said. "It is a list of our provisions. We have enough 
food, but there is no fresh water. The enemy has 
cut off the supply. We could not expect them to 
do otherwise." He waited, and then, as neither 
spoke, he went on: "I have spoken with the others. 
You know, gentlemen, we can not go on another 
twenty-four hours without water. We have made 
a good fight for it, but this is the end. We must 
look the fact in the face." 

"Surely they must know at headquarters what 
a state we are in — " Saunders began. 

The Colonel shrugged his shoulders. 

"No doubt they Imow, but they can not help in 
time. This is not a petty frontier business. It is 
something worse — a rising with a leader. A rising 
with a leader is a lengthy business to tackle, and it 
requires its victims. In this case we are the vic- 
tims." He smiled grimly. "We have only one thing 
left to do — make a dash for it while we have the 
strei^th. You must know as well as I do that 
there is scarcely anything worth calling a hope, but 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



388 THE NATIVE BORN 

it's a more agreeable way of dying than being 
starved out like rats and then butchered like sheep. 
I know these devils." He glanced around the shad- 
owy room with a curious light in his eyes. "My 
best friend was murdered in this room," he added. 
"Personally, I prefer a fair fight in the open." 

"When do you propose to make the start, 
Colonel?" Nicholson asked. 

"Within an hour. The night favors us. The 
women must be kept in the center as much as pos- 
sible. I have given Geoffries special charge over 
them. They will be told at the last moment. There 
is no use in spoiling what little rest they have had." 
He drew out a pencil and began to scribble a des- 
patch on the back of an old letter. "I advise you 
gentlemen to do likewise," he said. "Very often a 
piece of paper gets through where a man can not, 
and it is our bounden duty to supply the morning 
periodicals with as much news as possible." -. 

For some minutes there was no sound save that 
of the pencils scrawling the last messages of men 
with the seal of death already stamped upon their 
foreheads. All three had forgotten Travers, and 
yet from the moment they had begun to speak he 
had been awake and listening. He sat up now, 
leaning upon his elbow. 

"Nicholson t" he said faintly. 

Nicholson turned and came to his side. 

"Hullo I" he said. "Awake, are yon? How are 
you?" 

Travers made no immediate answer; he took 
Nicholson's hand in a. feverish clasp and drew him 
nearer. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



TRAVERS 389 

"I am in great pain," he said. "You don't need 
to pretend. I know. The fear of death has been 
on me all day. Just now I am not afraid. Is there 
no hope?" 

"You mean — for us? None." 

Travers nodded. 

"I heard you talking, but I wanted to make sure. 
It has all been my fault — every bit of it. It's decent 
of you not to make me feel it more. You arc not 
to blame — her. You know I tempted her, I made 
her help me. She isn't responsible. At any rate, 
she made a clean hreast of it — that's something to 
her credit. I didn't want to — I never meant to. I 
am not the sort that repents. But this last week 
you have been so decent, and Lois such a plucky 
little soul — she ought to hate me — and perhaps she 
does — but she has done her best. Nicholson, are 
you listening? Can you hear what I say? It's so 
damned hard for me to talk." 

"I can hear," Nicholson said kindly. "Don't wor- 
ry about what can't be helped." In spite of every- 
thing, he pitied the man, and his tone showed it. 

Travers lifted himself higher, clinging to the 
other's shoulder. His voice began to come in rough, 
uneven jerks. 

"But it can be helped — it must be helped ! Don't 
you see — I came between you and Lois purposely. 
From the first moment you spoke of her I knew 
that you loved her — and I wanted her. I never 
gave your message. I didn't dare. You are the sort 
of man a woman cares for — a woman like 'Lois. I 
couldn't risk it. But now — well, I'm done, and 
afterward she will be free — " 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



390 THE NATIVE BORN 

Nicholson drew back stiffly. 

"You are talking nonsense," he said, in a colder 
tone. "No one wants you to die — and in any case, 
you know very well we have no chance of getting 
through this alive." 

Travers seized his arm. His eyes shone with a 
painful excitement. 

"Yes — ^yes I" he stammered. "You have a chance 
— a sure hope. I can save you ; I can — atone. That's 
what I want. Only you must help me. I am a dy- 
ing man. I want you to bring me to the Rajah — 
at once. Only five minutes with him — that will be 
enough. Then he will let you go — ^he mustl" 

Nicholson freed himself resolutely from the cling- 
ing hands. 

"You exaggerate your power," he said, "and, be- 
sides, what you ask is an impossibility." 

He turned away, but Travers caught his arm and 
held him with a frantic, desperate strength. 

"Then if you will not help me — send Miss Caiy 
to rac," he pleaded. "I must speak to her." 

Nicholson looked down into the dying face with 
a new interest. He had no suspicion of the burden 
with which Travers' soul was laden, and yet he was 
conscious now that the matter was urgent and of 
an importance which he could not estimate. 

"I will tell her," he said. "Stay quiet a minute. 
We have no time to lose." 

Travers nodded and fell back on to his rough 
couch. His eyes closed and he seemed to sleep, but 
as Beatrice knelt down by his side he roused him- 
self and looked at her with the intensity of a man 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



TRAVERS 391 

who has gathered his last strength for a last great 
purpose. 

"I am dying," he whispered thickly; "I know it 
and I don't care. I am past caring. But before I 
die I want to atone ; I want, if I can, to save Lois. 
I care for her in my poor way, and I would like her 
to be happy. Are you listening?" 

"I am listening," Beatrice answered gravely. "Do 
you think I could close my ears when you speak of 
atonement ?" 

He clutched her hand. 

"You would be glad to atone for all the mischief 
we have done?" 

"I would give my life." 

"Is the Colonel there? I can*t see clearly. 
Colonel, I want you to hear what I have to say." 

Colonel Carmichael turned. 

"This is no time," he said sternly, "and it is too 
late for atonement. Our account with this world 
is closed." 

"It need not be. Colonel — in the name of those 
whose lives lie in your hands, I beg of you to listen 
to me." 

There was a moment's hesitating silence. Trav- 
ers' glazed eyes were fixed on the elder man's face 
with a hypnotizing power. The Colonel drew nearer 
— reluctantly knelt down. 

"Be quick then!" he said. 

Travers nodded. His head was thrown back 
against Beatrice's shoulder. With fumbling, trembling 
fingers he drew a plain gold ring from his pocket and 
thrust it into the Colonel's hand. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



393 THE NATIVE BORN 

"Look at thatl" he whispered. "Look at the in- 
scription." 

Carmtchael turned to the feeble light. No one 
spoke or moved. They watched him and waited 
with a reasonless, breathless suspense. 

"My Godl" he whispered, "How did you come 
by this?" 

Travers drew himself upright. The shadows of 
death were banished in that last moment; his voice 
was clear and steady as he answered. 

"Listen," he said. "I will tell you — and then act 
before it is too late!" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER XI 



IN THE HOUS OF NEED 



NEHAL SINGH pulled aside the curtains over the 
window and stepped out on to the balcony. The air in 
the great silent room behind him stifled him, and even 
the nig^t breeze, as it touched his cheeks, seemed to 
burn with fever. He stood there motionless, his arms 
folded, gazing fixedly into the half-darkness. A pale, 
watery moonlight cast an unearthly shimmer over the 
shadowy world before him, brightened every here and 
there by the will-o'-the-wisp fire points which marked 
the presence of the camped thousands waiting silently 
for his word. Only one spot — it seemed like a black 
stain — remained in absolute gloom, and it was thither 
the Rajah's eyes were turned. Every night he had 
come to the same place to watch it. Every night he 
had tortured himself with the thought of all it con- 
tained. 

For he knew now, with the clear certainty of 
a man who has searched down to the bottom of his 
soul, that in that silent area his whole life, his one hope 
of happiness was bound up, and waited, with those who 
were fighting stubbornly, heroically, against the end — 
its destruction beneath his own sword. He was fight- 
ing against himself. With his own hands he was tear- 
ing down that which seemed an inseparable, incorpor- 
ate part of himself. Anger and contempt were dead. 
393 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gk' 



394 THE NATIVE BORN 

In their place the old love had rekindled and grown 
brighter before the sight of a courage, dignified and 
silent, which had held back the tide of furious fanat- 
icism and thwarted his own despair. He had seen, 
with eyes which burned with an indescribable emotion, 
a regiment of wearied, weakened men, led by a man 
he had once despised, burst through the densest squares 
of his own soldiers ; he had heard their cheers as they 
had clasped hands with the defenders ; he had locdced 
a^iast into bis own heart, afire with admiration, ach- 
ii^ with a strai^e, broken-hearted gratitude to God 
who had made such men. It was in vain that, lash- 
ii^ himself with the knowledge of his own weakness 
and of his disloyalty to those who followed him, he 
had flung himself against the defenses of the little gar- 
Day after day they drove him back, fighting hand to 
hand in the earthworks they had thrown up in a few 
hours of miraculous labor. He fought against them 
like a man possessed of an unquenchable hatred; but 
at night, when he was at last akine, he had slipped 
out on to his balcony and hdd out his hands toward 
them in an tmspeakable wordless greeting. Once more 
they had become for him the world's Great People, 
the giants of hts boyhood's imaginaUon, the heroes of 
his man's ideal. At the point of the sword they had 
proved the truth of Nicholson's proud boast, and hour 
by hour the man who had turned from than in a mo- 
ment of bitter disillusion saw the temple he had once 
built to their honor rise from its ashes in new and 
greater splendor. 

Thus two weeks had passed, and to-night was to see 
the end. Nehal knew that, brave though they were. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



IN THE HOUR OF NEED 395 

they could do no more. They had no water, and his 
forces hugged them in on every side. One last attack 
and it would be over — Manit would be cleared from the 
enemy, his victory complete. His victory I It was his 
own ruin he was preparit^, the certain destruction of 
that which seemed linked invisibly but surely to his 
own fate. And, knowing that, he knew also that there 
was no turning back for him, no retreat. His word 
was given. His people, the people who claimed him by 
the right of blood, clamored for him to lead them as 
he had sworn. It made no difference if on the path he 
had chosen he trampled on every hope, every wish, 
every rooted instinct. There was no turning back. 
He knew it — the knowledge that his own words bound 
him came to him with pitiless finali^ as he stood 
there watching the silent, lightless stretch which was 
soon to be the scene of a last tragic struggle ; and if 
indeed there are such things as tears of blood, they 
rose to his eyes now. 

With lips compressed in an agony he could neither 
analyze nor conquer, he turned slowly back into the 
dimly lighted room. Two torches burned on either side 
of the throne and threw unsteady shadows among the 
glittering pillars. They lit up his face and revealed it 
as that of a man who has cast his youth behind him 
for ever. Only a few months had passed since he had 
sat there with Travers in the full noon of his hope and 
enthusiasm. He remembered the scene with a clear- 
ness which was a fresh torture. The hopes that had 
been built up in that hour lay shattered, the woman 
for whom they had been built was lost. He thought 
of her now as he always thought of her, as he knew 
he would think of her to the end. For this love, save 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



396 THE NATIVE BORN 

that it had grown and deepened into a wider under- 
standing, had remained unchanged. As there had been 
cowards and tricksters among his heroes, so in that one 
woman evil and good had stood side by side and fouglit 
out their battle. And the good had won — had won be- 
cause he alone of all men had believed in it. He be- 
lieved in it still — in the same measure as he had learned 
to love her — with a deeper understanding of tempta- 
tion and failure. It was the one triumph in the midst 
of seeming ruin, the one firm rock in the raging tor- 
rent of his fate, beaten as it was between the contend- 
ing streams of desire and duty. She was indeed lost 
to him, but not as in the first hour of his shaken trust 
He had regained his memory of her as a good wcHnan, 
striving upward and onward; and already he had in- 
vested her with the glory of those whom death has al- 
ready claimed from us. 

Nehal Singh started from his painful reverie, con- 
scious that some one had entered the room and was 
watching him. He turned and saw his chief captain 
standing respectfully before him, and, though it was 
a man he liked and trusted, it seemed to him that the 
gaunt, soldierly figure had taken on the form of an 
ugly, threatening destiny. 

"All is ready. Great Prince," the native said, sal- 
aaming. "Every man is at his post We do but await 
thy orders." 

Nehal did not answer. His hands clasped and un- 
clasped themselves in the last agony of hesitation. The 
moment had come, the inevitable and irretrievable mo- 
ment which had loomed so long upon his horizon. 
Even now he hardly knew what it was to bring him. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



IN THE HOUR OF NEED 397 

The forces warring in his blood were locked in a. death 
stni^le. At last he nodded and his lips moved. 

"It is well. In half an hour — I will come to them. 
In half an hour — the attack will begin." 

"Sahib — is it good to wait? The dawn cometh, and 
with the dawn — " 

Nehal Singh lifted his hand peremptorily. 

"In half an hour," he repeated. 

The man salaamed and was gone. Nehal Singh 
stood there like a pillar of stone. It was over. In 
half aa hour I And yet, at the bottom of his heart, he 
knew that he had delayed — purposely, but to no end 
but his own increased suffering. With a sigh of im- 
patience he turned, and in the same instant became 
once more aware that he was not alone. 

For a moment he perceived nothing save the shad- 
ows and the unsteady flickering of the yellow torch- 
light. Then his vision cleared and he saw and under- 
stood, and an exclamation burst from his horrified 
lips. It was a woman who stood out against the dark- 
ness, her body clothed in rags, the hair, grey and thin, 
hanging unkempt about her shoulders, the face turned 
to his that of some being risen from a tomb. There 
seemed to be no flesH upon the high cheek-bones nor 
upon the hands that were stretched toward him ; only 
the eyes were alive with an unquenchable fire which 
burned upon him with a power that was unearthly. 
She staggered a few steps and then sank slowly to his 
feet, her hands still outstretched. He knelt down and 
supported the sinking head upon his shoulder. 

"Who art thou?" he whispered in Hindustani. 
"Where hast tbou come from? Tell me thy history." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



398 THE NATIVE BORN 

A look of iataue pain passed over her features. 
Slowly and with a great effort her lips parted. 

"I am English — let me speak in Ei^lish. I have 
only a few minutes — I am dying." 

He looked about him, seeking scHiiething with whidi 
to moisten her dry lips, but she clung to bim with an 
incredible strength. 

"No, no, I must speak with you. Up to now I have 
lived in an awful nightmare — amidst ghastly phantoms 
who pursued and tortured me. But when I heard 
your voice — when I beard you give that order, I 
awoke. The dreams vanished, I heard and understood 
— and remembered I" She drew herself upright and 
for a moment apckt with a penetrating clearness. 
"Not in half an hour — never! Withdraw that ordec! 
If you go against them you are accursed. Lay down 
your arms! You must — ^you know you must! You 
dare not — " She clung to his arm and her eyes seemed 
to bum their way into his very soul. "I tell you — to 
turn traitor is to inherit an endless hell — " 

"A traitor!" he echoed. Something clutched at bis 
heart, a sort of numb suspense which became electrified 
as be saw a new expression fiasb into her face. 

"Yes, a traitor!" she whispered. "That was what 
I was. I was English — ^yes, English in spite of all, 
but in my bitterness I turned from my people. I let 
myself be taken alive. I would not share the fate of 
those who had once been dear to me. My whole life 
has been the punishment They tortured me and then 
came Hit dreams — the awful, hideous dreams. I was 
always looking for you, always callit^ for you. And 
they laughed and mocked at me. Only one man did 
not laugli — " her voice grew doubtful and hesitating. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



IN THE HOUR OF NEED 399 

as though she were groping in the shadows of her 
memory. "He did not laugh. He promised to help 
me but he never came Aga.ia — and 1 died — yts, I died — 
but I saw your face, I heard your voitt — and I came 
back from death— to save youl" Once more her vision 
cleared and her voice grew steadier. "Go bade to 
them I They are your friends. If you do not go, you 
will break your heart — as mine is broken. Swear to 
me — ^you must, because — " 

He bent closer to her to catch every sound diat fell 
from her tips. His pulses were beating with a suf- 
focating violence. Somewhere a veil was liftii^. It 
was as if the sunlight were at last breakiag through a 
mist of strange dreams, strange loi^ngs, strange fore- 
bodings. The confused voices that had called to him 
throughout his life grew dearer. 

"Because — ?" he whispered. 

But she did not answer. Her head was thrown back. 
Her open eyes were fixed intently on his face. Sud- 
denly she smiled. It was a smile that chilled his blood 
with its hideous distortion. And yet behind it lurked 
the possibility of a long-lost beauty and sweetness. 

"Steven I" she whispered. "Steven I" 

Ooser and closer she drew his face to hers. Her icy 
lips rested on his cheek. Pity and a strai^, as yet 
unformed, foreboding made him accept that dying 
caress and speak to her with an urgent, pleading gen- 
tleness. 

"You have something to tell me," he rauiraured, 
"something I must know. Tell me before it is too 
late." 

But her eyes had closed and she did not answer 
him. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



400 THE NATIVE BQRN 

"Rouse yourself I" he insisted. "Rouse yourself!" 
It seemed to him that she smiled. Her face had 
undergone a change. It was younger, and in the flick- 
ering light his imagination brightened it with the 
glories whose dim traces still touched the haggard, 
emaciated features. One last time her eyes opened 
and she looked at him. The frenzy of despair was 
gone. He felt that she was looking beyond him to a 
future he could not see. 
"Go back t" she whispered. "Go back !" 
He pressed her to him, seeking to pour something 
of his own seething vitality into her dying frame. 
With her life the threads of his fate seemed to be slip- 
ping through his fingers. 
"Help me !" he implored. "Do not leave me I" 
But he knew that she would never answer. She lay 
heavy in his arms, and the hand that clasped his re- 
laxed and fell with a soft thud upon the marble. He 
rose to his feet and stood looking down upon her. It 
was not the first time he had seen death. In these 
last weeks he had met it in all its most hideous, most 
revolting forms ; but none had moved him, awed him 
as this did. He knew that she had once been beauti- 
ful. Who had made her suffer till only a shadow of 
that beaufy remained? What had she endured? Who 
was she? What did she know of him? Why did she 
call him by a name which rang in his ears with a 
vague familiarity? What was it in her poor dead face 
which stirred in him a memory which had no date 
nor place in his life? 

Outside he heard the uneasy stirring of the thou- 
sands who awaited him. He looked up and through 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



IN THE HOUR OF NEED 401 

the open windows, saw the camp-fires and that one 
dark spot which was to be swept clear of all but death. 
What had she said? "Go back! Lay down your 
arms ! You must — you know you must ! To turn 
traitor is to inherit an endless hell I" A traitor? A 
traitor to whom — to what? To some blind instinct 
that had called him in those English voices, that had 
beaten out an answering cry of thankfulness from his 
heart when their cheers proclaimed his own defeat? 

A soft step roused him from his troubled thoughts. 
He looked up and saw a servant standing in the cur- 
tained doorway. The man's eyes were fixed on the 
outstretched figure at Nehal's feet, and there was an 
expression on the dark face so full of fear and horror 
that the Rajah involuntarily drew back. 

"Who was this woman?" he demanded. "Whence 
comes she?" 

"Lord Sahib, she was a mad-woman whom the Lord 
Behar Singh kept out of mercy. She must have es- 
caped her prison. More I know not." 

The man was trembling as though in the shadows 
there lurked a hidden threatening danger, and Ndial 
turned aside with a gesture of desperate impatience. 
"Why hast thou come before the time ?" he asked. 
"Lord Sahib, outside there are two English pris- 
oners. They demand to be brought before thee What 
is thy will?" 

"Bring them hither." 

Nehal Singh stood where the bowing servant left 
him, at the side of the poor dead woman, his hands 
crossed upon his sword-hilt, his eyes fixed on the parted 
curtains. There he waited, motionless, passive, as a 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



4oa THE NATIVE BORN 

man waits who knows that he has become the toed of 
Destiny. 
A moment later, Beatrice stood before bim. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



CHAPTER XII 

ai8 OWN PEOPLB 

SHE was not alone, but in that first moment he 
saw nothing but her face. It seemed to him that 
the whole world was blotted out aad that only she 
remained, grave, fearless, supreme in her wan beau- 
ty, a tragic figure glorified by a light of unconquer- 
able resolution. He looked at her but be did not 
greet her; no muscle of his set and ashy features 
betrayed the thrill of passionate recognition which 
had passed like a line of fire through his veins. To 
move was to awake from a dream to a hideous, ter- 
rible reality. 

She came slowly toward him. The thin wrap 
about her head slipped back and he saw the light 
flash on to the fair disheveled hair. His eyes were 
dazzled, but it seemed to him that there were grey 
threads where once had been untarnished gold. Yet 
he could not and would not speak, and she came 
on till she stood opposite him, the dead woman lying 
there between them. Then for the first time she low- 
ered her eyes and he awoke with a start of agonizii^ 
pain. 

"Why have you come?" he said. "Have you 

come to plead again? Have you come to torture 

me again? Was not that once enough? In a few 

minutes I shall sweep your people to destruction. 

403 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



4C4 THE NATIVE BORN 

Shall I save you? — is that what you have come to 
tell me?" 

He waited for her answer, his teeth clenched, 
his brows knitted in the old terrible struggle. All 
his energy, all his determination sank paralyzed be- 
fore her and before his love, and yet he knew he 
must go on — go on with the destruction of himself, 
of her, of all that was dearest to him. 

She knelt down and touched the dead face with 
her white hand, closing the glazed, staring eyes 
with a curious tenderness and pity. There was no 
surprise or horror in her expression as she at last 
rose and faced him — rather a mysterious knowledge 
which held htm bound in wordless expectation. 

"I have come to tell you that woman's history, 
Steven Caruthers," she said. "I have not come to 
plead with you but to tell you the truth — to lay be- 
fore you the two paths between which you must 
choose once and for all. Will you listen to me?" 

"Beatrice 1" he stammered. "Why have you given 
me a name which is not mine — which she gave me 
with her last breath ? What do you know that you 
have risked your life—" 

"It was no risk," she said. "My life was for- 
feited and it was our last hope. Oh, if I can turn 
you from all this ruin, then I shall have atoned for 
the evil I have done you I" 

The note of mingled entreaty, despair and hope 
stirred him to the depths of his being, but he made no 
response. He could only point to the white face and 
repeat the question which had beaten in pitiless reitera- 
tion against his tortured brain. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



HIS OWN PEQFLE 405 

"Who was sher . 

"She was your mother." 

"And I—?" 

It was not Beatrice who this time answered. A 
figure stepped forward out of the shadows and faced 
the Rajah. It was Carmichael, pale, deeply moved, 
but erect and steadfast. His eyes were fixed on Ne- 
bal's features with a curious, hungry eagerness 
which changed as he spoke into a growing recogni- 
tion. 

"Let me tell you," he said. "I will be brief, for 
every minute is precious and full of danger for us 
all. This poor woman was Margaret Caruthers, the 
wife of my dearest friend, and your mother. Until 
an hour ago I believed that she had been butchered 
with her husband and with all those others who 
paid the penalty of one man's sin. No doubt you 
know why your supposed father, Behar Singh, rose 
against us?" 

"His honor — his wife had been stolen from him 
by a treacherous Englishman," Nehal answered 
hoarsely. 

"Yes, by StaflFord, John StaflFord's father. The 
issue of that act of infidelity was a child, Lois, who 
afterward was adopted by Caruthers, partly out of 
friendship for Stafford, partly because he had no 
children of his own. So much, at least, I surmise. 
I surmise, too, that that adoption cost him his wife's 
love and trust. Perhaps, ignorant of the child's 
real parentage, she believed the worst, perhaps there 
were other causes — be it as it may, in the hour of 
catastrophe she refused to share the general fate. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



40$ THE NATIVE BORN 

She chose to throw herself upon the mercy of her 
mother's people." 

"Her mother's people!" Nehal echoed blankly. 

"There was native blood in her veins. It was on 
that account that Behar Singh spared her. She 
bitterly learned to regret her change of allegiance. 
She was kept close prisoner, and six months after 
the murder of her husband she bore him a son — 
you — Steven Canithcrs, Behar Singh, himself with- 
out an heir, took the child from her, and from that 
hour the unfortunate woman became insane. 'Long 
years she was kept a secret and wretched captive, 
and then one day she escaped, and in her wander- 
ings met a man — an Englishman who was then 
your friend," 

'Travers!" Nehal exclaimed. 

"Yes, Travers. By means of bribes and threats 
he obtained her whole history, partly from her own 
lips, partly from her gaolers. But he told no one 
of his discovery," 

"Why not? How dared he keep silence?" 

"It is very simple. He wished to marry my ward, 
Lois Caruthers, and he wished to have her money. 
As I have said, Caruthers had adopted her when 
her mother, the Reni Ona, returned to her own 
people, and had made her his heir in the case that 
he should have no children of his own. Had your 
existence been known Lois would have been penni- 
less, Travers knew this and kept his secret froni 
every one save Stafford." 

"YHiy did he tell Stafford?" 

"He had to. Stafford and Lois loved each other — 
with a love which was all too natural and explicable 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



HIS OWN PEOPLE 407 

in the light of our present knowledge. It was neces- 
sary that he should be made aware that marriage 
between them was impossible — that they were, in 
fact, the children of the same father." 

"Stafford kept silence — " 

"He bad promised. And, moreover, he believed 
it kinder to hide the truth from Lois. Only at the 
last he determined to speak at all costs. But it was 
too late. You know — he was murdered on the steps 
of Travers' house." 

Nehal Singh nodded. An even deadlier pallor crept 
over his features. 

"I know," he said. "It was Behar Singh's last 
vengeance. God knows, my hands are clean." 

"That I know. You are your father's son." 

"And the proof of all this?" 

"This ring. Take it. It was your mother's. 
Travers gave it to me when he made his confession. 
He took it from the poor mad woman at their first 
meeting. Look at the inscription. It bears your 
mother's and Other's names." 

"And Travers — ?" The Rajah lifted his hand in a 
stem, threatening gesture. 

" — is dead," was the grave answer. "He died an 
hour ago, in his wife's arms." 

For a moment a profound hush hung over the 
great, dimly lighted hall. The Rajah knelt down 
by his mother's side and gently replaced the ring 
upon the thin lifeless finger. 

"She called herself a traitor," he said, half to 
himself. "A traitor to whom — to what?" 

"To the strong white blood that was in her veins. 
In her bitterness at the real or imagined wrongs 

C,.;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



408 THE NATIVE BORN 

.that had been done her, she turned away from the 
people to whom she belonged, to whom she was 
bound by all the ties of love and upbringing. She 
disobeyed the voice of her instinct. And you, har 
son, you, too, have been bitter; you, too, must listen 
to the call of the two races to whom you are linked. 
Whom wilt you obey P You stand at the cross-ways 
where yon must choose — where we must either 
part or join hands for good and all. The road back 
to us is open, is still open. That is the message of 
peace which we have risked our lives to bring you. 
Rajah, Steven Caruthers — for so I now call you — 
I plead with you — I may plead with you, for in this 
hour at least I can not look upon you as an adver- 
sary, but as the son of this unfortunate woman — 
above all, of my friend. I plead with you the more 
because I owe you yearS' of friendship. I am not 
the least to blame that you fell away from us in re- 
sentment and bitterness. I could have shielded 
you from the inevitable pitfalls that beset your 
path, but — God forgive me ! — my prejudice blinded 
me and I held back. It was I who carried you away 
from the palace on that night when you were left, 
a helpless child, to the mercy of Behar Singh's ene- 
mies. Then I had pity enough — ^but years after I 
held back the hand of friendship which I might 
have offered you. Well, I am punished, twice pun- 
ished, for my prejudice and blindness. Is it too 
late for me to make my reparation?" 

He held out his hand and there was a silence of 
tense expectation. The Rajah's head was bowed. 
He did not seem to see the Colonel's movement. 

"You can not think I am pleading with you to 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



HIS OWN PEOPLE 409 

save our lives," Carmtchael went 00 with grave 
dignity. "We have fought for them. An hour ago 
we were prepared to lay them down without com- 
plaint We are not the less prepared now. It is 
not for us I am speaking, but for you. Your day 
as Rajah is over — ^your claim to rule in India void. 
I offer you instead your father's name, your father's 
people, your father's heritage. The other road- 
well, you have trodden it, you know it. You must 
choose. Your mother chose — twenty-five years ago, 
in the same hour of crisis, blinded by the same bit- 
terness. She chose to tear the bonds of love and 
duty ; she ignored the true voice of her instinct It 
broke her heart. The same crisis stands to-night 
before you, her son. What will you do — Steven 
Caruthers?" 

The Rajah lifted his head. The stru^le was 
written iii his dark, sunken eyes and on the com- 
pressed lips. 

"I can not desert them," he said wearily. "They trust 
me — my people trust me." 

"Who are your people?" was the swift questicm. 
"You must choose." 

Again the same silence, the same waiting while 
the hand of fate seemed to hover above them 
in the darkness. Beatrice left her place at the dead 
woman's side. With a firm, proud step she came 
to the Rajah and took his hand in both her own. 
He started at her touch, and for a long minute his 
gaze seemed to sink itself in hers, but she never 
wavered. When she spoke an immeasurable ten- 
demesfl rang in her voice, a boundless understand-' 
ing and sympathy. 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



4IO THE NATIVE BORN 

"Steven — have you forgotten? Long ago in the 
old temple? Don't you remember what you told 
me then — how you loved and admired us? You 
called us the world's Great People, and when you 
spoke of our heroes there was something in your 
voice which thrilled me. Was it only your books, 
was it your teachers — Behar Singh — who made you 
fee! as you did? When you came among us, what 
led you? The face of a woman? Was it only that? 
Or was it something more? — the call of a great, 
wonderful instinct?" 

His eyes were riveted on her face, but for that 
moment he did not see her. He did not see the 
tears that glistened on her cheeks. He was look- 
ing straight through the long vista of the past, 
right back to the first hours of his memory, when 
he had wandered alone amidst strange faces, a ruler 
in a palace which had never ceased to be his prison, 
an exile whose home lay only in strange, fantastic 
dreams. And in this final moment he seemed to 
stand high above the past, and ever swifter and 
surer to trace through every incident of his life one 
same guiding power. Through the snares of Behar 
Singh's hate-filled temptations it had led onward; 
it had borne him to the temple — to the feet of the 
woman he was to love through every torture of Sit- 
ter deception; it had swept him on a wave of im- 
pulse beyond his prison walls out into a world 
which he at last hailed as his ; and now, in the hour 
of fiercest despair, of deepest loss, it was drawing 
him surely and swiftly homeward. The past van- 
ished. He saw again the face lifted to his — he saw 
the tears — the Colonel's hand outstretched, waiting 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



HIS OWN PEOPLE 411 

to clasp his own- He heard the title that she gave 
him as a man hears a long-forgotten watchword. 

"You are English, Steven. You are English — you 
belong to us \" 

He unfastened the sword at his side. For a mo- 
ment he held it as though in farewell. But there 
was no grief on his face as he laid the jeweled 
weapon in the Colonel's hand. 

"I have chosen," he said. "I can not go against my 
pec^e." 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



CHAPTER Xin 



WITH the surrender of one man the great Msnit 
rising came to an end. It had been built up by htm 
and on him, and with him it collapsed. As the news 
reached the armed thousands encamped about the 
mined Station, consternation fell upon them. There 
was no attempt at organization or resistance. They 
believed simply that Heaven had turned against 
them and Vishnu joined hands with the English- 
man, and they waited to hear no more. What had 
seemed an overwhelming force melted away as 
though it had been a shadow, and in the jungle, 
slinking along the ligfatless highways, or huddling 
in the lonely hovels outside Marut, the remnant of 
Behar Singh's great army hid from the hand of the 
destroyer. They had followed their god, and their 
god had deserted them. All hope was lost, and 
with the fatalism of their race they flung their 
weapons from them as they fled. 

Fending the decision of the Government, Nehal 
Singh, now Steven Caruthers, was held prisoner in 
the club-bouse he had built two years before. Part 
of the returned regiment was encamped about the 
surrounding gardens, in order to prevent all at- 
tempt at rescue, but the precaution was a mere for- 
mality. Visitors came constantly. There was not 
412 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gIC 



ENVOI 413 

a man in all tbe Station wbo was not anxious to 
help bury the past and to hold out the hand of 
friendship to one whom at the bottom of their 
hearts they bad once wronged and slighted. Among 
tbem Carmichael and Nicholson were the chief. 
They passed many hours of each day with him, and 
worked steadily and enthusiastically for his pardon 
and retoase. He was touched and grateful, but be- 
neath his gratitude there still lurked the demon 
of unrest. She had not come — the one being for 
whom he waited — she had sent no word. He knew 
that her mother lay dying — above all things be 
knew that on the great day of the attack she had 
stood resolutely between him and death — but noth- 
ing, no explanation or assurance, calmed the hidden 
trouble of his mind. After all, it had been pity — 
or remorse — not love. 

Thus three weeks passed. The Colonel had spent 
the day with him discussing the future, arranging 
for the transference of Lots* fortune into his un- 
willing hands, and now, toward nightfall, he was 
once more alone, wearied in body and soul. For 
the first time since hts surrender his sense of quiet 
and release from an immense burden was gone. He 
was still alone. He felt now that be would always 
be alone, for there was but one who could 611 ths 
blank to his life. And she had not come. He did 
not and could not blame her. Who was he that a 
woman should join her lot to his? An English- 
man truly, but one over whose birth and youth 
there hung a shadow, perhaps a curse such as had 
darkened his mother's life and the life of all those 
in whose veins there flows an alien blood. She 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



414 THE NATIVE BORN 

must not even think that any link from the past bound 
her. She must be free— quite free to choose. Wearily 
he seated himself at his table and took his pen. 

"You have been the great guiding light of my 
life," he wrote to her. "You will always be, be- 
cause I can not learn to forget. But for you it would 
be easier and better to forget. You will be happier 
— " And then he heard the door open, and she 
stood before him. The words that he had meant 
to write rushed to his lips, but no further. Moved 
by a common impulse, they advanced to meet each 
other, and the next moment she was in his arms. 
Neither spoke. It seemed as though, once face to 
face, there could be no doubts, no misunderstand- 
ings between them. Their love was wordless, but 
it had spoken in a silence more eloquent, more com- 
plete than words could ever have been. 

"I could not come before," she said, after a little. 
"I could not leave her. She was only at peace when 
I held her hand. She was very happy at the last — 
now it is all over." 

He held her closer to him, and she clung to him, 
not sadly or wearily, but like a strong woman who 
had fought and won the thing she fought for. 

"It was Fate after all," he said, under his breath. 
"She meant us for each other." 

She looked up at him. Though suffering, physi- 
cal and mental, had drawn its ineffaceable lines upon 
her face, it had also added to her beauty the charm 
of strength and experience. 

"I knew long ago that it was Fate," she answered. 
"Do you remember that first evening? You told 
me that people do not drift aimlessly into each 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



ENVOI 415 

other's lives. Even then, against my will, I feft 
that it was true. Afterward I was sure. I had 
entered into your life in a moment of frivolous reck- 
lessness, but you had entered into mine with another 
purpose, and I could not rid myself of you. Your 
hold upon me was strong. It grew stronger, do 
what I would, and the farce became deadly earnest." 

"For me it was always deadly earnest," he said. 
"When I first saw you standing before the idol, it 
was as though a wall which had surrounded my life 
had been overthrown, and that you had come to be 
my guide and comrade in a new and unknown 
world." 

"And then I failed you." 

His eyes met hers thoughtfully. 

"Did you? Now I look back, I am not sure. I 
had to believe you when you said you had deceived 
me and played with me. I had to force myself to 
despise you. Yet, when you confronted me in the 
bungalow, I felt suddenly that you needed to ex- 
plain nothing. I understood." 

"Did you understand that I had only deceived 
myself? I told myself that it was a farce played 
at your expense. But — Heaven knows — I believe it 
ceased to be a farce from the first hour I saw you. 
You believed in me so. No one had believed in me 
before — I had never believed in myself or in man, 
or in God, either. But I had to believe in you, and 
afterward — the rest came." She drew herself up- 
right and looked him full in the dark eyes. "Steven, 
do you trust me?" He nodded. "As you did on 
that day when you told me that you owed me all 
that you were and ever would be?" 



>;,l,ZDdbyG00gle 



416 TPIE NATIVE BORN 

"As then, Beatrice." 

She smiled gravely. 

"You do right to trust me. You have made me 
worthy of your trust." 

He put his arm about her shoulder, and led her 
gently on to the verandah. The ni|^ had faUlen dark 
and starless. Through the black veil they sarw the 
gleam of bivouac fires and heard the voices of men 
calling to one another,, and the clatter of piled arms. 
They remained silent, after the storm and stress of 
the past, content to be together and at peace. They 
knew that the long night was over and that the 
dawn had broken. 

When the Colonel entered they did not bear him, 
and without speaking he turned back and closed 
the door after him. In his hand he held a telegram 
ordering the deposition of Nehal Singh, Rajah of 
Marut, and the recognition, pardon and release of 
one Steven Caruthers, Englishman. But he crept 
away with the long-hoped-for message. 

"Time enough," he thought. "They are haw>y." 

And if beneath his heartfelt rejoicing there lurked 
the shadow of bitterness, who shall blame him? 
There was one dearer to him than his own child 
could have been, for whose wounded heart there 
seemed as yet no balsam. And yet, unknown to 
him, for her also the dawn was breaking. For even 
as he crept away with knitted brows, sharing her 
burden with her by the power of love and sympathy, 
she held in her hands the first herald of a hazier 
future. 

"What you have told me I accept — for now," 
Adam Nicholson had written. "You are wise to 



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travel with the Cannicbaels. It wilt do you good. 
I, who was prepared to wait my whole life for you, 
can have patience for s little longer, I know that 
you suffer and as yet I may not help you. Your 
pride separates us^ but your pride is a little thing 
compared to my love. What is your birth or par- 
entage to me? You say it would overshadow my 
whole life, darken my career? It might try. That 
would be one thing more to fight against We have 
come to India to sweep away its prejudices; let us 
first sweep away our own. We have come to bring 
freedom ; let us first make ourselves free. It will be 
a good battle, but it will not darken my life, Lois. 
Do you think opposition and struggle could darken 
my life? Surely you know me better. Do but 
stand at my side, and there will be no darkness. I 
am not a boy. I am a man who sees before him long 
years of labor, and who needs the one woman who 
can help him. Is our cathedral forgotten? I do 
not believe it. You are not the woman to forget. 
The time is not far off when we will crown our 
Cathedral band in hand. Only when your love dies 
can the barrier between us become insurmountable. 
If your love lives, then, as surely as there is a God 
in Heaven, I will come and fetch you, Lois — niy 
wife." 

And the tears that filled her eyes as she read the 
boldly written words were no longer the tears of 
grief. Her love for him had been the rock upon 
which her life was built. It was imperishable. She 
knew thus that she would not have long to wait 
until his coming. 

THE END 



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